Carer's Experience Medical Neglect

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Having requested and received copies of the ward medical notes for the last 5 days of my mother's life, I, having numerous unanswered questions in my mind decided to begin the official complaints procedure. The following two letters were with regard to the first meeting that I had with medical staff at the beginning of the complaints procedure on the 21st January 1999. The meeting had been arranged by Glasgow Health Council and I was accompanied by their representative.

Southern General Hospital NHS Trust,

11th February 1999.

Mr. Ian Stewart,

Dear Mr. Stewart,

I refer to your recent meeting with Dr ..., Dr ..., Mr ..., and the Complaints Officer, during which you discussed aspects of your late mother's medical treatment. May I take this opportunity to offer my condolences to you on your loss.

I hope you found the meeting helpful and I understand you raised a number of questions which were fully discussed.

You referred to an ECG Report dated 12th March 1998 which indicated that your mother had a recent heart attack and asked why you were not advised of this. The consultants endeavoured to explain to you that although the ECG Report showed an anterior infarct, it did not happen during her admission. There is no way of knowing when your mother had this heart attack but clearly she recovered from it. The comments printed by the computer at the top of ECG Reports are for guidance only.

With regard to the comment in your mother's medical records that CPR was not to be given, Mr .... explained that this type of action would have been fruitless as your mother was too ill and too old to recover. Mrs. Stewart's condition was terminal and it would not have been possible to resuscitate her.

Your mother was admitted to the Southern General on 12 March 1998 with right sided bronchopneumonia and diabetic coma. She was given intravenous antibiotics, fluids and insulin. I understand she was to receive a CT scan to confirm a brain stem infarct however, regrettably she died before this could be organised.

With regard to the comment in your mother's notes 'no active treatment to be performed', the consultants endeavoured to explain that a more accurate comment would have been that 'no active treatment can be given'. No appropriate treatment was withdrawn from your mother.

Although described as 'unresponsive' throughout her notes, you explained an incident where your mother responded to your voice. The consultants endeavoured to explain that although she responded to you at that time, your mother was correctly assessed as unconscious. Levels of consciousness can vary.

You explained during the meeting that when you were asked to attend the hospital on 17 March, you were not made aware of your mother's deterioration. You also referred to comments in your mother's notes that you were to be spoken to. This matter will be brought to the attention of the appropriate medical and nursing staff.

With regard to your complaint concerning the Staff Nurse who broke the news of your mother's death, we are investigating this and I will write to you again within 2 weeks to advise you of our progress. In the meantime I enclose a copy of our complaints leaflet which explains the complaints procedure.

Yours sincerely,

Chief executive.

cc Greater Glasgow Health Council.

Southern General Hospital NHS Trust,

22nd February 1999.

Mr. I. Stewart,

Dear Mr. Stewart,

I refer to the meeting of 21st January where you raised a complaint regarding the manner in which you were advised of your mother's death by Staff Nurse .... Your complaint has been raised with Staff Nurse .... but she cannot recall the circumstances as described by you. There would have been no intent to speak to you in an off hand manner particularly at such a time. I am sorry that you have this memory but I would like to reassure you that our aim is to ensure that relatives are treated in a proper and compassionate manner following bereavement.

Yours sincerely,

Chief Executive.

In Local 1b are the letters concerning the areas which I wished to be considered as the definitive complaint.

Select a dated order Ombudsman sub-page.
Local 1a Local 1b Local 1c Local 1d
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Iain R. Stewart, Ex-Carer

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