"My mum experienced a lack of care"

About: Western Infirmary/Gartnavel General / Trauma & orthopaedics

(as a relative),

My so loved mum was admitted to orthopaedics in Gartnavel General for a routine 'procedure' to repair a small break in a bone in her back. Her overall state of health at the time of admission was really good and she settled well in the ward.

On the 3rd day my sister and I noticed that she seemed very quiet and not as aware as she normally was. She also had a drip in her hand. We were concerned.

I asked to speak to a nurse and told they were very busy. I was made to feel that I was a pest but my overriding worry about my mum was enough to have to insist that there were questions which could only be answered by the persons involved in her care. I returned to mum's bedside to await the named person speaking to my sister and me and during the visit, mum had an 'accident' - she'd wet her bed - this presented as entirely out of character. It hadn't happened before.

Staff were told and about 40 minutes later me and my sister helped to change and freshen our mother after helping her out of her wet bed to sit in the nearby chair. The sheets were stripped and left at the bin as we didn't know where else to leave them. Those sheets were still not taken away when we left that ward 55minutes later.

It transpired that the drip was put up as mum was dehydrated we were told this was not to be a one-off as the family were to discover. Our requests to have water on mum's locker were unheeded and over the next week with mounting anxiety over our mother's now obvious serious condition, a doctor advised us that she had contracted a 'hospital acquired infection' and her condition was giving 'cause for concern'.

Rather than be sympathetic towards her family, we were regarded as nuisance value as we saw for ourselves the lack of basic hygiene, the couldn't-care-less attitude and undignified manner in which our mum was treated by some staff.

By the end of that first week or so, it was apparent to us that our beautiful mother was slipping away. She is no longer with us and even after she passed away she was left to lie uncovered in that bed for several hours before being taken from her room.

There are no words to sufficiently express the way in which our mum was taken from us. It didn't need to happen. It shouldn't have happened, but it did. I believe there is every chance she could still have been alive today, she was not that elderly and all her faculties were intact. It is the opinion of myself, my siblings and those who knew her that an ageist policy is practised in Gartnavel General.

No doubt the powers that be would vehemently deny that, and whilst the rule is not to discriminate against the elderly, I feel it is a reality. Please do not allow this nightmare to happen to others.

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Response from Paul Cannon, Head of Administration, Acute Services Division, Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS

I was very sorry to read about your late mother's experience at Gartnavel General Hospital, and I would like to extend my sincere condolences to you and your family on your sad loss.

I also want to thank you for drawing your concerns to our attention, and to state that we want to follow these concerns through for you. I would be grateful therefore if you could provide some further detail about your late mother (her name and date of birth would be very helpful), and the ward she was cared for in at the Hospital, and the dates. A note of your own contact details would also be helpful so that we can investigate these concerns formally, and respond to you once these investigations have been concluded.

We have an email facility for complaints to be lodged, which is separate from this Patient Opinion feedback web site, and upon receipt we direct these to the appropriate Complaints Team within the Board. The address is complaints@ggc.scot.nhs.uk. I very much hope that you feel able to provide these details and allow us the opportunity to investigate your concerns to ensure that we have an opportunity to learn from your unfortunate experience.

I look forward to hearing from you. If I can be of further assistance, please let me know.


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