Page last updated at 18:38 GMT, Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Relatives' reactions to report

Relatives of patients who were treated by Mid Staffordshire Hospitals have been reacting to a Healthcare Commission report saying lives were lost owing to the Trust's "appalling" emergency care.


Pete Basford's father-in-law George Dalziel died in Staffordshire General Hospital after surgery for bowel cancer. He was 64.

The surgery was a success; they removed all the cancer and he was reported to be improving.

Then he very quickly went downhill. He couldn't take any fluids or food - he basically starved to death. We watched him waste away.

You could see him wasting away and no-one took any action. We weren't given any information.

We think the nurse and doctor know best. They say, 'We are doing tests, everything is under control,' and you believe them. But it wasn't
There was not enough nurses there to actually help and support him. No-one had the time or the care to ask if he was all right.

My father messed himself in his bed; he had to sit in that for a long time before he was cleaned up. That was the last thing that broke his spirit actually.

He had been a very strong, proud man. Now he was just a broken man. It was horrible to see it.

The guilt we feel now in letting him waste away. We think the nurse and doctor know best. In the back of your mind is, 'They must know what they are doing. They are the professionals.'

They say, 'We are doing tests, everything is under control,' and you believe them. But it wasn't.

Certainly the main problem is lack of staff, and the staff that are there are severely overworked, totally demoralised and can't cope.


Gillian Peacham's husband Arthur, 68, was admitted to hospital with back pain and diagnosed with osteoarthritis.

Mr Peacham caught the Clostridium difficile bug while in hospital, before being transferred to another hospital when a tumour was discovered on his spine. He later died.

His care was appalling. The wards were filthy and there was never any hand gel.

There were never any nurses and he was often lying in his own excrement.

The wards were not clean and they were not doing any barrier nursing [to prevent spread of infections].

There was soiled bed linen, people were sitting on each other's beds when they should have been isolated.

They failed in their duty of care. I put a complaint into the hospital and they did nothing about it.

If it had a been a dog being treated in that way the RSPCA would have blown the hospital apart.

Rebecca Davies' grandmother, Joyce Williams, was admitted to hospital with a broken arm and urine infection.

The arm was dealt with perfectly well but it was the after-care that nearly finished her off.

It was just a complete lack of dignity for patients.

The urine infection wasn't treated so it went to a condition called uremia and that only happens through severe dehydration, which simply shouldn't happen in hospital.

June Chell's husband Ron, 80, died in hospital following a stroke.

We knew he didn't stand any chance really, but the care he received while he was in there was very, very poor.

I would go in and find him wet, or go in and find him half hanging out of the bed.

There was a general air of uncaring. I kept asking him where the pain was, and he kept showing me, but it was as if they weren't concerned about getting rid of the pain.

We must get that hospital right; we used to be proud of it, but no longer. It needs change from top to bottom
These days, no-one should be in pain like that, should they?

We are only lay people - you put every faith in whoever is looking after them, but unfortunately he didn't get the care that he should have or that he deserved.

I never wanted to leave him. I went into the hospital at about half-nine in the morning, often I didn't leave until 11, sometimes 12 at night.

I was after them to give him his medication. I said to the sister in charge, 'I am not going until I see you give him his medication.'

It was terrible time, it really was.

We must get that hospital right; we used to be proud of it, but no longer. It needs change from top to bottom.


Deb Hazeldine's mother, Ellen Linstead, died in hospital in 2006.

Every single day for four months, myself, my brother or my dad, we visited. We fed her, we tried to clean her when she was left in her own faeces and her own urine.

At one point she grabbed hold of my hand and said: 'Please, Deb, don't let me die in here'
It was her dignity really. She was left on a bed-pan in agony one day, when I walked into the ward and I could hear her screaming - the nurses were so busy, they'd actually forgotten.

I'm so disappointed that my mum went in there just to be helped.

She'd beaten cancer, she just needed help with her physiotherapy and I trusted them and they let me down bitterly. They let my mum down, they let my family down.

She so wanted to live, at one point she grabbed hold of my hand and said: 'Please, Deb, don't let me die in here.'


Julie Bailey's 86-year-old mother died after eight weeks' treatment at Staffordshire NHS Trust.

What we saw in those eight weeks will haunt us for the rest of our lives.

We saw patients drinking out of flower vases, they were so thirsty. There were patients wandering around the hospital and patients fighting.

When we looked at the report, our relatives didn't stand a chance
It was continuous through the night. Patients were screaming out in pain because you just could not get pain relief.

Patients would fall out of bed and we would have to go hunting for staff. There was such a lack of staff.

It was like a Third World country hospital. It was an absolute disgrace.

This is an outrage that this has been happening at Stafford Hospital. Where else is it happening?

Who has been monitoring this situation? It's just so unnecessary.

When we looked at the report, our relatives didn't stand a chance.

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