New page July 2012.
Quite a lot of the content of this page used to be part of the Comments page; sub-page to the Report page within the Ombudsman Procedure. It has additions which are memories of previous lack of care of the elderly as I witnessed on various occasions when visiting my Mother during her hospital admissions. At those times, there were very few revelations in the Press about the shortcomings present within the NHS. Upon reflection, the rot was probably present and was the product of those who have demeaned the profession of being a Nurse or Doctor, through their imposition of the sickness of Political Correctness. Such is referred to in the book titled "Matron Knows Best: The True Story Of A 1960s NHS Nurse" written by Nurse Joan Woodcock, and details of the book are given in Article 4.
In the letters of the Ombudsman pages detailing the scenario surrounding my mother's last days, the nurse who had breezed past me with the comment "Your Mums gone - 10 minutes ago", was the same nurse who had on a previous occasion displayed to me a lack of appreciation of the possible state of mind of an elderly patient, as given below.
The following were all probably contributed to by nurses having their time taken up by perpetual writing of notes; caused no doubt by managerial and political incompetence, along with socio-political gobbledygook pumped into their heads at college.
In the previous July (1997), my mother was in hospital with a border line Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). During my afternoon visit I was told that the nurses had asked my mother if she wanted some item of food. My mother had agreed and then when the nurses brought it to her she rejected it. That same nurse had told me of this in a similar off-hand manner as she walked away. They did not appear to recognise that my mother was experiencing extreme confusion caused by the UTI. As a young doctor on the team had said to me, "You and I would shrug the infection off, but at your mother's age it knocks them sideways".
On the day of my mother's release I had a pre-arranged meeting with one of the consultants and before I went home I called in to the ward. The nurses told me that my mother would be collected from the ward and brought home just after mid-day. I was back home about mid-morning when the bell rang and there was my mother brought home. The patient transport folk had called into the ward and without checking with the staff had just taken my mother out and brought her home. They had therefore not checked as to any discharge medication and they did not bring back her zimmer which I had taken to the hospital for her use as the hospital said that they had trouble getting zimmers for patients. This caused further work for the staff and unnecessary phone calls to correct. Social Work field teams did the necessary remedial work in collecting it and delivering it to me.
On a previous occasion, when my mother was admitted and was in standard isolation with both a UTI and a potentially fatal faecal infection, Clostridium Difficile, my mother had threatened to report nurses to a higher level. I could hear her extremely angry voice from within the isolation room as I talked to one of the nurses outside, and the nurse was saying that they had to report incidents where a patient was behaving in this manner. I got the impression that they considered my mother was being an awkward patient and found myself wondering who had taught them nursing practice. They seemed unaware of the effects of such infections upon the elderly. My mother's actions were totally foreign to her normal behaviour and personality.
On this same admission, after the infections were cleared, my mother was in a four bed ward of the Geriatric sector. The Nursing Station was placed such that they could not see the patients, and often the call buttons were not placed within a patient's reach. On a few occasions I left the ward and called to the nurses that a patient needed toileting. I don't doubt that there were probably various times when a patient ended up sitting in their own waste. The ward had its own toilet unit and many a time I just assisted my Mother to it without calling the Nursing staff. I was used to such activity at home since I was her carer.
My mother also had a minor skin cut on her right leg which was healing but needed regular checking. The consultant had removed the dressing to check but it then had to be re-dressed, but never was. I pointed this out to the Nurses more than once but nothing was done. Eventually, I took with me the necessary material from home and did the job myself. The nurses seemed to spend a lot of their time at the nursing station writing those interminable notes.
On another admission, due to my mother falling at home and fracturing a right ankle bone which was put in plaster, I was evening visiting. Just before visiting time ending at 2000, my mother said that she felt that she needed a motion. I went down to the nursing station, where there were about 5 nurses, to tell them and they said they would be right up. This proved not to be the case, since shortly afterwards all but one left the office and disappeared off the ward. A doctor came into the ward and started a conversation with the remaining nurse. My mother was getting a bit rattled. Opposite my mother there was another elderly lady who had her married son and family visiting, and they were hearing all this and saying that it was ridiculous. I asked them as to where the wheelchair commodes were and they told me. I got one and drawing the curtains around the bed, got my mother onto it. The faecal waste went where it was meant to rather than my mother sitting in it. At one point I went behind the curtain to check if my mother needed help, but she wasn't quite finished. When I emerged, the last nurse who had finished her conversation with the doctor was there and in a hoity-toity tone of voice asked me if I should be in there. I politely pointed out that I had saved her from having to clean up a mess. There was no apology; just a statement that this was their job. Some folk may have responded with a burst of foul language.
Another time when she was in Geriatrics and sitting beside the bed and needed a motion, I, upon looking for a nurse found that there was not one nurse on the ward at all. I managed to help her to the ward toilet, supervise the operation and get her back to her chair. Since we got to the toilet just in time, some of the waste was coming out as she was sitting down and soiled the seat and herself. I had time to clean her with moist wipes which were present, get her back to her chair and then go back and clean the toilet seat. The operation took the better part of 30 minutes and there was still no sight of a nurse. At one visiting time, on looking for a nurse, I found the only two on the ward were in the patients' day room, where one was having some food and doing her notes and the other was watching TV. If a patient had called for help, then they would probably have never heard since the door was closed.
For all that there were undoubtedly numerous occasions when nursing staff treated my mother and other elderly patients kindly, it is so often not that which remains in the elderly person's memory. As a child we do not expect to be physically or psychologically abused. There is that child that remains within us, all of our lives, who does not expect to be abused in any way and it is that psychological abuse which society deals out to the elderly within this despicably sick United Kingdom today that I consider damaged my mother's will to live. With hindsight, I recognise that that was the child's feelings of hurt and rejection being expressed when my mother said that nobody wanted her. That is New Labour's despicable treatment of the elderly in practice and it continues today and appears to be getting worse with their utterly imbecilic cult of youth, immaturity, and foul political correctness.
In the London Sunday Times of 7 May 2000, a Consultant Physician and Geriatrician of Harrow, Middlesex, England had her letter published. In it she stated that elderly people were mistakenly regarded as a population defined on the basis of age. They were being measured in terms of productivity and not in terms of self-awareness which distinguishes individuals. As a result of this, it was difficult to recruit nurses to work on geriatric wards. She ended her letter with noting that this specious categorisation of the elderly had and has its consequence in that it institutionalises the ageism which is deeply entrenched within society. I suspect that there is within the NHS an attitude that states that those who choose to work with the elderly are not quite good enough to work at the cutting edge of modern medicine and only work with the old fogies. That mentality has to recognise, that with advancing knowledge of the DNA, the elderly ARE one of the cutting edges of modern medicine.
Material with regard to the future and the increasing lifespan that is to come and which are all worthy of study and deep reflection have been written by such academics as referred to below:-
Professor Tom Kirkwood (UK) (Britain's first biological gerontologist) is the author of a book titled "Time of our Lives - Why ageing is neither inevitable nor necessary - The Science of Human Ageing". It is NECESSARY for such medical and non-medical people, with those closed minds, to read that book. The bibliography in the book provides a list of other worthy material regarding ageism.
Ray Kurzweil (USA) (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in his books titled "Age of Intelligent Machines", "Age of Spiritual Machines" and "The Singularity is Near - When humans transcend biology".
Ian Pearson (UK) was, prior to 2008, a British Telecom futurologist and his Guide to the Future can be read on the web, with his views on "the aged (Nov 1995)" and "ageing (March 2002)". At the end of 2007, he became an independent futurologist.
Dr. K. Eric Drexler (USA) - the founder of the field of molecular nano-technology, and considered to be the world's leading expert on the subject. His books are titled "Engines of Creation" and "Unbounding the Future". Our capacity to practice nanotechnology is due to the nuclear physicists' constant revealing study and increasing knowledge of the universe of the atom with its sub-atomic particles of electrons, protons, neutrons, neutrinos, quarks, bosons, W-bosons, gravitons, gluons, super-strings et al. The guiding science of quantum physics stretches our capacity to define reality.
Professor Michio Kaku (USA) - one of today's leading theoretical nuclear physicists, in his book "Visions : How science will revolutionise the 21st century". Professor Kaku's other books are all worth reading.
Baroness Professor Susan Greenfield (UK) in her latest book "Tomorrow's People". As with Professor Kaku, Professor Greenfield's other books are also well worth reading.
All such material will impact heavily upon the medical profession in the years ahead, requiring a huge change in attitude towards the elderly, and a greater respect for the sanctity of life. I personally believe that the ultimate insult to every human being, namely that hateful thing called DEATH shall eventually be conquered, and the reason for being of the medical profession is to counter and delay it at present. I do not reject Ray Kurzweil's prophecy in "The Age of Spiritual Machines" that the sentient beings of the future will only manifest a physical body as and when they need one, and this will just be one aspect of the fact that such humans will have long passed that point where we will have merged with the computer, and their brain structure will be a combination of biology and implanted software.
The failings that were highlighted by this site's Ombudsman Report, and the other shortcomings that I experienced as a carer were, and are, certainly not unique to the hospital concerned. These failings are common throughout the United Kingdom, the NHS (National Health Service), and the globe, due to a growing lack of respect for life and an increasingly idiotic ageism. This evil mindset is caused by our species which too often seems to lack the intellectual capacity to recognise these global demographic changes. It is hardly an ideal situation to produce the required ideal frame of mind necessary for the future. I found it heartening that fairly recently the BMA (British Medical Association) had majority voted to reject euthanasia and assisted dying, which is a major step towards that irrefutably necessary greater respect.
Since the original writing of some of this content in June 2006, there have been cases in the Press of that which undoubtedly many people would look upon as, using the American term, "First Degree Murder"; where members of the Medical Profession appear to have ended the lives of patients. There are cases where the patients have not displayed any signs of impending death but did die, and cases where misdiagnoses has caused their death but where the relatives felt that the following health personna actions were contrived to cover up medical incompetence, or in some cases the actual practice of enforced euthanasia. In simple terms there can be little doubt that there are people who will irrefutably state that their loved one was murdered. The ending of a life, by taking action where the person does not have any illness/disease that would have ended that life, is plain and simple - MURDER.
In the UK Press of March 2011 there was a case reported where a female doctor appeared to have caused the deaths of a number of elderly patients by the use of "potentially hazardous" levels of morphine and other drugs, although the supposed investigative panel allowed her to continue practicing but with certain restrictions; and that to the contemptuous disgust of the relatives!!!!! Some people believe that the evilness behind all of this is in the established political parties deliberate culling of certain members of society. Who in their right mind could ever conclude that there is a predominant number of intelligent, moral, honest and humble beings worthy of any respect within those, so often, inferior forms of sub-life known as politicians?
Their present obsession, destructive of all moral values, is with that imbecilic UTTERLY EVIL "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS". Our species' advancement down the millenia has always been due to a myriad ways of individual thinking and not that of a faecal flotsam faceless robotic mass. With this cancerous PC in mind, I have to reflect upon the sentence in a previous paragraph regarding the BMA's vote against euthanasia and consider my naiveté in assuming that such moral principles will be widely recognised and applied.
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