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Stafford Hospital, incompetence or wilful murder? - Carers UK Forum

Stafford Hospital, incompetence or wilful murder?

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
On the 24th March 2011, my 84 year old aunt died in Stafford hospital.
I was witness to some of the tragic and horrific events that lead up to her death.
You can read the full true story in the letter of complaint I sent to Stafford hospital and the Coroner.

Uploading Word document soon.

Tried but this site does not allow Word docx or doc. How annoying.
How to upload a Word document? I guess I could upload the whole 4 page document as copy and paste text.
They will get away with it.
My 21 year old son died suddenly in 2009,I was begging for support for him while he was alive.
He had insulin dependent diabetes(diagnosed as a baby),and died in ketoacidosis,main cause of death was kidney failure.
The Dr said at the inquest that the kidney disease was not discovered until the postmortem, yet I have since seen the NHS notes and lab tests indicate stage 3 chronic kidney disease 11 months before his death. How can a 21 year old man be in Intensive care with a severe urine infection and they did not investigate the cause?(when kidney problems are a very common complication of type 1 Diabetes).
I informed the Coroner of these facts(he is legally trained so knows nothing of medicine, relying on the Drs to tell the truth),but he has declined to re-open the inquest.
I am trying to find some strength from somewhere to put my anger and grief to a positive use. Haven't found anything yet.My husband and elder son also have Type 1 Diabetes,so every day is stressful.
Good luck with the inquest for your Aunt.
26th March 2011
Mr Antony Sumara
Chief Executive
Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust
Stafford Hospital
Weston Road

ST16 3SA

Re: A+E Complaint

Also for the attention of Mr Howard Carter, Coroner.
Post Mortem due on Monday 28th March 2011

Dear Mr Antony Sumara
I write with great sadness and dismay about the gross negligence and lack of professional care handed out by some of your staff to my very frail 84 year old Aunt **** **** on the 24th March 20011.

She had fallen at home and was lying on the floor unable to get up; I lifted her onto a chair and called for an ambulance and they took her to the A+E department of Stafford hospital. Also in the ambulance accompanying her was my 82 year old my mother and I followed in my car. On my arrival, my mother and I were told by one of the ambulance paramedics to wait as she was being looked at and someone will come to see us.

The waiting room display said there was a 2 hour wait and when no one came, I went to enquire and was taken to see my aunt who was lying in bed wearing only a hospital gown and covered by a blood stained sheet and blanket. My aunt was complaining of lower back pain and was very uncomfortable and kept saying she wanted to get up and trying to lie on her left and then right hand sides. She was very thirsty and I gave her some water. I was told she had not yet been examined by a doctor, but she was next in line to be seen. My aunt had now been in the A+E for at least 2½ hours and had not had a proper examination. I noticed there was dry blood on the bed sheets and blood smeared on the floor, as I could not see blood on my aunt I assumed it was from another patient.

A lady doctor with a European accent came, she asked my aunt what was wrong and my aunt replied that she did not know, but her back was hurting and she wanted to get up. The lady doctor then proceeded to examine my aunt and said she would find out what was wrong. It was difficult to understand everything my aunt was saying so the doctor then asked me what I thought was wrong. I told her that she had fallen and was complaining of lower back pain and that she had fallen on at least one other occasion during the past week, but until today's fall had been able to walk with the aid of a walking stick. I also told her that the day before, she had received a home visit from her doctor after she complained of stomach pains, painful hips and back and feeling very tired. She also had a swollen and closed blood-shot left eye, which my mother said was not caused by the fall as it was like that when she got up that morning. The paramedics who took my aunt to Stafford thought it was probably an eye infection. Her doctor said he thought the aches and pains were age-related arthritis and only prescribed a simple stomach remedy.

The lady doctor then left us and spent a considerable amount of time writing at a nearby station. Then a male and female nurse arrived with intravenous drips, when I asked what they were for they said ‘pain relief and antibiotics’. We were then left for some time on our own. My aunt was very uncomfortable and frequently asked to be raised and wanted to get up or turn. My mother and I told her she could not because of all the drips and sensors. When my aunt turned to her left, I noticed that the left hand side security rail had been left down, so I pulled it up and it locked into place. I thought how negligent that it had been left down, but regrettably I did not mention it to staff.

I then noticed a massive purple bruise to the rear of my aunt’s right shoulder. No one including all of the nurses attending my aunt and not even the doctor had looked at or even mentioned the bruise, which I assumed had been caused by the fall at home. When the doctor returned, I told her about the bruise and she looked at it but made no comment or even offered to protect it with a bandage.

Later that day my aunt was taken for X-rays and my mother and I accompanied her. We had previously stated that she had not eaten anything all day and thought she would be very hungry. After returning from the X-ray, a male nurse arrived with a sandwich, but my aunt was too weak to eat. I was shocked to notice that the skin on the bruised right shoulder was now rubbed away to reveal raw wet flesh. I left my aunt briefly to find the lady doctor and tell her about my discovery. I said I thought it needed a dressing and she did not reply but left and a few minutes later the same male nurse that had offered the sandwich returned with two large plasters. He realised that the plasters were not large enough and left to find others. He returned with the same plasters and had to cut away the adhesive so it would not stick to the wound or bruise. It then occurred to me that my aunt was not and had not complained of pain to her shoulder, but still had pain to her lower back. I thought this very strange as the shoulder injury must have been very painful. She also had previously complained of not being able to feel her right foot which was very cold and she asked me to rub it, which I did.
The male nurse was having difficulty applying the plasters, and indicated for me to help him move my aunt forward to gain access to the bruised shoulder, which I did and he was able to apply the plasters. He then left and it became apparent that my aunt’s condition had suddenly got worse, she was not talking anymore and was staring straight ahead and her skin looked like wax. I asked for help and the lady doctor examined my aunt and immediately called for resuscitation. She was taken to the resuscitation area and my mother and I were shown to a waiting room and we assumed my aunt had died.

Sometime time later an Indian lady anaesthetist came to speak to us and with some difficulty explained that she thought my aunt was dying and said it would be cruel to resuscitate her, as all her bloods were down and vital organs were failing. I said my aunt had already made the decision for me and had said that she did not want to be resuscitated. The anaesthetist left and we waited expecting to be told that my aunt had died.

Sometime later and much to our surprise and joy, the original lady doctor came to tell us that my aunt had been successfully resuscitated and was awake and talking. We were taken to see my aunt and although now wearing an oxygen mask, she was able to speak and answer our questions. The doctor left and the young nurse that had attended my aunt on several occasions including administering the intravenous drips remained with us and answered my questions on the monitoring equipment. I had noticed that the oxygen and pulse clip had slipped from my aunt’s finger and as a result this was not showing on the monitor. Although the nurse had previously indicated the area on the monitor covered by the oxygen clip, which was not giving any reading due to it not being attached, she was about to leave without re-attaching the clip. I then asked her if it should be replaced on my aunt’s finger, so she then attached the clip and waited to see if the monitor picked up the oxygen levels, which after a minute did show and the nurse said the oxygen levels were good.

After my aunt’s resuscitation, a male Asian doctor had discovered a very large deep purple bruise to the rear of my aunt’s upper left leg. I looked at it asked him how could it have happened and he said that’s what he would like to know. He said it was blistering and weeping. I found it staggeringly incompetent that my aunt had now been in the hospital for at least seven hours and no one had mentioned or apparently discovered this massive wound. Surely those responsible for removing my aunt’s clothes would have noticed the injuries and reported them. We were then asked to wait outside the curtain and I was approached by a different young lady doctor dressed in a green uniform. She was obviously concerned that something was not right and asked me how I thought the injury had been caused. I was still shocked at the discovery and could think of no explanation other than it was due to a fall at home. We were then allowed back to my aunt’s bedside and she was still fully awake and talking. I asked her if she was in pain and she still only mentioned her lower back. I told her it was now 6.40pm in the evening and she acknowledge by saying ‘is it?’

We then had to leave the room as more mobile X-rays were taken. After the X-rays, we returned and my aunt was still awake and talking. After a few more minutes, a gentleman with an east European accent arrived and asked my mother and me to leave as he needed to take blood from my aunt's groin.

We returned to the waiting area and I was concerned that my mother had not eaten since breakfast time. I decided to visit the main hospital shop which unfortunately was now closed so I used a vending machine to purchase chocolate. When I returned to the waiting room, my mother said a Chinese doctor had spoken to her, but she did not follow what he was saying. This was due mainly to my mother’s age related problems and impaired hearing. The Chinese doctor returned to the waiting room and started to tell us in a ‘jolly pleased’ way that my aunt had responded well to the treatment they had just given and she was awake and asking to see my mother. Then suddenly he was called outside the waiting room where someone gave him bad news. A few seconds later the doctor return and apologised for misleading us and said my aunt's condition had taken a turn for the worse and she was now not expected to live. We were taken to see my aunt and found her alive but unconscious, minutes later my aunt’s heart stopped and she was dead.

Since the death of my aunt, I have had time to reflect on everything that happened during the time she spent in your hospital and I have come to believe through my own observations that during the first two hours something negligent happened to cause the injuries to her shoulder and upper left leg. I do not see how m
A very sympathetic lady at Stafford hospital complaints did reply and apologised on behalf the hospital for what she said was one of the worst cases she had ever had to read. She commented on the fact that there are so many foreign workers at the hospital and asked me if I thought that was contributing to the problems. I said on that day, every race and nationality was on duty and my aunt would have found it very difficult to understand the confusion of broken English.

I was invited to visit the hospital and speak to the heads of department in A&E, but I declined the offer and said it would be a waste of time as the hospital was already fully aware of its shortcomings as they had received so many similar complaints over the years yet nothing effective was being done to solve its problems. I said I was convinced that some of the staff get a perverted pleasure from being surrounded by the sick and suffering and actively abuse there position and cause unnecessary deaths. I said the only way of ridding the hospital of these abominations was to sack everyone, close it and then employ specialist consultants to recruit only the best qualified staff. But nothing has changed and the horrors continue.

The coroners autopsy claimed death was due to among other things cancer of the stomach and blood poisoning, but made no mention of the bruising and wounds. The undertaker who was also a licensed embalmer said the purple wounds on my aunts leg also extended up her back and were far worse than I had thought.

I still have not come to terms with what they did to my aunt and I frequently wake up at night with the horrors of that day.
My deepest sympathy for your loss Tony.

Take care
So sorry Tony Image
Tony, I am deeply saddened to read about how your dear aunt was treated. It is hard enough when someone you love passes to cope let alone when they have been treated as you described. I'm sure your first christmas without her was difficult and it has given you yet more time to reflect on that horrible day. From the reply you have received it appears that the "investigation" was not extensive which in itself is so very wrong. Communication on the day was so poor and the fact that staff only have a basic ability to communicate in english is horrendous. Can you imagine going in a supermarket and having someone on the till who could not speak english - I'm sure there is a standard that supermarkets require so why on earth is there not an even higher one in the NHS! They will say that they only employ staff with a "good understanding of the english language"....that should also say "unless we are desperate for staff at the time and then we will take anyone!"

I wonder sometimes how these "clinicians" can sleep at night.

As for you, I think the day will come when you will be able to sleep at night without waking up with those horrible memories but that does take time. I often remember the deaths of my loved ones who passed away in 2009 although those nights are less frequent now and the memories are slowly beginning to be those other than the awful days when they were taken from me forever.

Take good care.
Bell x