"Went in for little complaint and died"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Gateshead)

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My Mother went in with a sore foot and hip and died of and illness that was not related in any way. When she went in she received a treatment for a bad chest. Nights staff were absolutely disgusting and day staff when we visited were no where to be seen and when we did find someone they had no idea what was going on..When i rang up to see how she was getting on and yes someone answered for a change i was told that she was confused and has a bladder infection, then i received a call stating that she had taken a turn for the worst, when i asked what do you mean is she dead they replyed yes i,m sorry you can come into the ward and get the Death Certificate. Now.... Is this just me or is this a bit crass or has anyone else had this problem where sensitivity just dones not come nto it..

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Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

We're sorry to hear about the communication problems you experienced at QE. All of our patients are given a comprehensive assessment on admission to hospital so it is common for other problems to be identified as well as the presenting complaint. If your mother had a bad chest, then ward 4 would have been the most appropriate ward for her treatment as this is our respiratory ward.

All staff on this ward are trained to the same level of competency and any issues addressed by the ward manager directly. In the absence of specific information about your mother it's difficult to investigate this further.

Whilst day staff make every effort to keep patients and families up-to-date, ward 4 is an acutely busy medical ward (meaning staff look after some of our most ill patients) there are times when staff cannot make themselves available at visiting time because they are attending to the needs of other patients. There are also times that because of prioritising patient care/emergencies, the phone cannot be answered in a timely way. Please accept our apologies for the frustration this has caused.

We also apologise for any insensitivity in the way information about your mother’s deterioration was handled. This is not usual for ward 4, who are very experienced in end of life care and are normally able to handle difficult situations with care and compassion. If you would like us to look into your case further you can contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Team on pals@ghnt.nhs.uk or 0800 953 0667.

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