Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 17:55 UK

Mother 'left to die' by hospital

Hazel Fenton and Christine Ball
Hazel Fenton left hospital after Christine Ball intervened in her care

The daughter of an 80-year-old woman from East Sussex has criticised doctors for using treatment guidelines which she says left her mother to die.

Hazel Fenton is still alive 10 months after doctors at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings withdrew antibiotics, nutrition and fluids in January.

Daughter Christine Ball intervened to get her mother taken off the care programme for terminally-ill patients.

The hospital trust said patients are assessed before going on the programme.

East Sussex NHS Hospitals Trust also said the treatment, called the Liverpool Care Pathway programme, has led to an improvement in the care it provides for patients at the end of their lives.

Mrs Fenton was admitted to the Conquest with pneumonia in January.

'It was awful'

Doctors believed she was at the end of her life and put her on the programme.

Ms Ball said: "They kept on saying, 'Dying people don't need nutrition, they don't need hydration', but no-one would actually tell me why mum was dying.

"I knew she wasn't as poorly as they said she was. It was awful and had a large impact on the whole family."

It took several days of pressure from Ms Ball before doctors removed her mother from the care programme.

She is now being cared for in a nursing home.

East Sussex NHS Hospitals Trust said in a statement: "Daily reviews are undertaken by clinicians whenever possible.

"Some patients who are put on to the pathway can subsequently be taken off it if their condition changes.

"Since the start of our implementation of the Liverpool Care Pathway, our audit results show that we have made an improvement in the care we provide for patients at the end of their lives."

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