UK & World News

  • 6 February 2013, 6:41

Families Of Victims Speak Of Stafford Neglect

The families of three patients that died at Stafford Hospital have spoken of the neglect and failings there.

It was March 2010 when 61-year-old Alan Nash walked into Stafford Hospital for a routine colonoscopy.

Inquiries were already underway into a scandal, which suggested that between 2005 and 2008 up to 1,200 patients may have died needlessly.

As a result the Nash family believed the standards of care would be high. But Mr Nash's bowel was perforated and he died the same day.

His daughter Marie Hillman said: "We felt that all eyes would be on Stafford Hospital so there would not be any mistakes. Obviously it is one of the biggest regrets I have that we talked him into going."

His wife Jenny Nash: "I don't exactly know where the room is where they do the colonoscopy. But I was just sitting in the waiting room and it is not a big area anyway.

"I did hear. It was just like somebody had been punched in the stomach where you get that gasp, if you like and it was quite loud. I think that is when they actually perforated it."

Ms Hillman said: "He had gone into hospital for a routine diagnosis. It was just like a nightmare. A nurse said to me, you will probably find that this happened at home. This happened before he came in.

"And I thought there is no way. Dad walked into the hospital, there is no way this happened at home."

The family thought that they were trying to blame Mr Nash and "pass the buck".

His wife said: "I wasn't with him at the time, I was outside. I didn't know he was going to die."

Ms Hillman maintains that there has been no apology at all.

She said: "We would like more answers. We would like reassurance that steps have been put in place that would prevent this from happening to somebody else. But we haven't had that as of today."

In the case, the hospital did not accept that it had breached its duty of care.

Doreen Duff had already suffered a stroke before she moved to Stafford and came under the care of the local hospital.

She developed asthma and other complications and used the Accident and Emergency on a number of occasions before she was admitted. Doreen was 64 when she died in 2008.

Her husband James Duff said: "The A&E department was just chaotic. You couldn't get a doctor. If you did see one they would go off once they had seen you and they wouldn't come back until they had time again. Short staffed, rude, very, very dirty.

"At one time she was discharged from A&E and was back in A&E within an hour. She suffered more strokes and was eventually paralysed from the neck down and couldn't speak.

"When Doreen went in she was quite a bubbly person and had quite a good quality of life. She had lost the use of her left side but she had still got all the right side and she was as bright as a button.

"When she came out she was paralysed from the neck down, couldn't speak and everything had just gone. That was just because of the care she received in Stafford Hospital, a lack of care. Not giving her medication, not given the proper fluids and left in a bed that is wet, in your own faeces.

"After what we have all been through, the relatives of these, the care still isn't as it should be. They are still getting complaints coming through."

Deb Hazeldine suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because of her 67-year-old mother Ellen's death from the hospital superbug C-difficile at Stafford Hospital.

"I will never get over it," said Ms Hazeldine who admits that she still struggles to cope more than six years after her loss.

She said: "My mum was diagnosed with bone cancer in March of 2006. She had some aggressive chemotherapy and unfortunately she suffered a fall at home.

"She didn't sustain any injuries at that point and she was taken into Mid-Staffs where she was told she would need physio and rehabilitation just to get her back on her feet."

Her mother was put onto an open ward despite a family request for her to have a side room or an isolation wing.

"She very quickly contracted C-diff and MRSA. She died from C-diff. She was sitting in a bed in a ward and I was sitting opposite her. We were chatting and faeces fell and covered half of the floor. Obviously it was at visiting time and other people were looking across. My mum just started to quietly cry.

"She was mortified that she was in this state. I looked for a nurse and pressed the buzzer and after about five minutes nobody came.

"I got down on my hands and knees and I started to clean it. I couldn't let my mum sit there like that.

"When she died we had a call from the undertakers that stated that mum had so many hospital infections that the hospital said she had to be buried in a sealed body bag because she would contaminate the ground she went into.

"Even now we are hearing of complaints that there is lack of support on the wards, these families are still raising the same concerns as I was raising six years ago, of having to go in and support their loved ones.

"I don't understand that six years on, I really don't understand that."

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