"The death of my partner from metastatic lung cancer"

About: Scottish Ambulance Service Southern General Hospital / Pain management

(as a carer),

He was admitted to Glasgow's Southern General in late last summer for a scan to establish whether there was pressure from tumours on his spinal cord and to see if the Pain Management Team could help. A further metastasis in his spine was identified, but pain management was ineffectual and I felt no one took his predicament seriously.

He was very afraid of dying in hospital, but his condition deteriorated and because of the holidays there was no way to get him home. I was left to take him on a 3. 5 hour journey by car, which he was in too much pain to undertake.

The air ambulance was eventually organised for the Wednesday (though it was open to change and still down to me to find some way of getting him from the rural airport in to our house, and his pain was severe)

He died during the Monday night, and it wasn't until 5 hours before this that anyone showed any compassion towards him or myself. For two weeks I had felt helpless and ignored, and there seemed to be no way to have his condition or my concerns acknowledged.

Most staff were rushed off their feet, and unable to see that my partner's condition was worsening.

There were honourable exceptions, but it was not until it was clear that he was going to die imminently that he or I was shown any compassion.

I will never forgive the Southern General for its dismissive treatment of us.

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Responses

Response from Maimie Thompson, Head of Public Relations and Engagement, Chief Executive's Office, NHS Highland

picture of Maimie Thompson

Dear Malin

What a harrowing account and how brave of you to share your experience.

It's so upsetting that when you have needed support most you have been let down. I am really sorry.

I don't know how you feel about it, but perhaps when you feel able, you might like to tell us in a bit more. We could then look into things in a more detail. I have already discussed and shared your story with our Lead Nurse for Argyll and Bute. NHS Highland routinely discuss issues that span boards with Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

I am sure they will be as keen as NHS Highland to see how we can learn from your experience and make improvements which others will benefit from.

Please accept our apologies and thanks again for sharing your opinions.

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Response from Sharon Hammell, Head of Corporate Affairs and Engagement, Scottish Ambulance Service

Dear Malin

I'm really sorry for the loss of your partner and that during the last two weeks you spent with him, you felt helpless and ignored.

If you would find it helpful, I would be happy to look into the arrangements which were made regarding ambulance care and transport for you.

If you're up to it, please call 0131 314 0000 so we can gather more information, and either myself, or one of my team will look into this and get back to you.

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Update posted by Malin (a carer)

I am extremely pleased to have received these responses, and I would like to talk about what happened a little more when I feel emotionally stronger.

My main concern now is that no one else should feel such helplessness when at their most vulnerable.

Response from Maimie Thompson, Head of Public Relations and Engagement, Chief Executive's Office, NHS Highland

picture of Maimie Thompson

Dear Malin

We are really pleased to hear from you - thank you. I say we because Sharon Hammell and I have been in touch to make sure we work together to support you. We will also contact our colleagues in the Southern General as we feel its is important that we will all work together to get to the bottom of what has happened here. We really need to pull together to try our very best that when people needs us most we dont let them down,

You have our details and we will be guided by you as to when you might feel ready to talk.

Regards

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Response from Sharon Hammell, Head of Corporate Affairs and Engagement, Scottish Ambulance Service

Hello Malin

Maimie and I have been thinking about you. We’re conscious it’s just over a year since you shared your experience with us, and we were wondering how you are doing.

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