"My mother had a successful operation for bowel cancer, but died the following week from an infection"

About: Belfast City Hospital / Clinical Oncology

(as a relative),

My mother went into Belfast city hospital April 2011 and had an operation for Bowel Cancer. Operation went well and she did not need a bag. Operation was done by keyhole surgery, and she was up and about the following day.

In the following few days she seemed to go down hill and within 5 days they said she had an infection. The sister came to me and said my Mother had a trace of C-Diff but they were giving her antibiotics.

She was much worse by the next day and not very coherent at all and they were moving the other patients out of the ward. The following day I was on my way to hospital when they rang me to come ASAP as my Mother was not well at all.

They said she was very poorly and not responding to treatment as she still had all the drips in and the catheter in but you could see she was not passing urine even though she was still getting all these fluids.

The following day, the doctor brought me and my aunt into a room and told us that her kidneys were failing and shutting down and she was in a coma like state, she never had a problem with her kidneys but at the time I was not thinking. I am an only child with one parent and I was just told that she would not be there in the morning.

She passed away the next day having not woken.

When something like this happens you cant think straight but after the funeral I was going through the paperwork and I was sending her death certificate off, I just looked at it for the 1st time - fully looked and it said she had died of bowel cancer. Well the surgeon had told me they had got it all and it had not spread anywhere, in fact the Monday after the operation they said they were delighted with recovery and thought she might be able to go home on the Friday. Well we know what happened on the Friday and I never did see the surgeon again.

As I now understand it, C-Diff infection will cause your kidneys to shut down if they don't catch it on time.

My opinion is that the cleaning staff when my Mother was there did not care as they should have done, I watched them while I was there all day, I never saw them doing proper cleaning - they seemed too busy talking, smoking and texting on their phones. My husband, my Aunt and I watched them taking paper towels damping it with cold water and going round this ward that had infection in it and just wiping only the table tops and as far as I know, that was them done.

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