Monday, 20 July 2009

NHS Continues to send patients to an early grave

This from the Daily Telegraph could happen to my 80+ year old mother as she recieves treament in this same hospital group.

I Hope the DT do not mind my repeating this story.....

Patient lived with cancer for 50 years before dying of bedsore
Cancer patient Pamela Goddard battled against cancer for 50 years before she died of an infected bedsore during a stay in hospital.

By Ian Johnston Published: 9:00AM BST 05 Jul 2009

Pamela Goddard had great faith in the NHS. It had, after all, kept her alive for more than half her 82 years.
The piano teacher first contracted breast cancer in the 1960s and had survived a series of recurrences of the disease over the years.

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So when it returned last year, this "completely vital" woman, who was still working up to 30 hours a week, was fully expected survive.
The cancer did not kill her, but a bedsore did.
What appeared to be the start of one was noted on her back as she was admitted for radiation treatment in September and it was allowed to gradually develop into a "raging sore" which left Mrs Goddard moaning in pain.
During four weeks of what her family describe as "torture" in a bed in East Surrey Hospital, the sore resulted in a fatal blood infection and she died on October 27.
Her son Adrian Goddard, who lives in the US, said: "She survived cancer for 40 years, then died from a bedsore.
"It is just beyond belief that they could let a bedsore develop to the point where it actually kills someone from septicaemia."
He said the nurses seemed largely unconcerned by the growing size of the sore and his mother's increasing pain.
"The bedsore was painful. There were various procedures that should have been done. You are supposed to debride the thing, clean it, treat it.
"She was supposed to be lifted and moved so there's not constant pressure on it," Mr Goddard said.
"There were explanations like 'there was only one nurse and it wasn't possible to do it or the equipment was broken'... just a series of excuses.
"Most of the time there were [enough nurses]. None of them struck me as being frantically busy to put it mildly.
"There were lots of conversations about last night's activities in the pub, a lot of strolling around, looking at charts without doing anything.
"The level of crisis that attracts their attention has to be very high for them to put down their biscuits. I guess they get inured to it, the moaning, the fact my mother was in great pain."
The first sign Mrs Goddard was unwell came early in 2008 when she suffered from back pain.
She went to Barts Hospital in London but the recurrence of cancer which was the cause of the pain was not diagnosed until she broke her leg in June.
The treatment for the cancer appeared to be working, but the bedsore continued to get worse despite attempts to treat it with "maggot therapy" in which maggots are used to clean out the wound.
On October 11, Mr Goddard said a doctor told him that "she was recovering well, except there was something in the blood work, which suggested an infection".
"If it didn't go away, he said he would give her penicillin or something," Mr Goddard said. "It never occurred to him this by now raging bedsore was the source of the infection."
Mr Goddard said he and other members of the family had tried to persuade nurses and doctors to take more action, but said the "inertia was extraordinary, the worst sort of institutional dysfunction".
Mr Goddard said anyone in a similar situation should "do what you need to do to find some sort of private care for them".
"She certainly wasn't ready to die. To the extent she realised it was happening, she must have been horrified," he said.
"The thing that makes me most angry was she had such faith in the system and it let her down so badly.
"She was basically in torture over a four-week period. Then she was drugged up and left to die.
"It's unconscionable, very sad."
Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Director of Nursing, Mary Sexton, said: "We offer our sincere condolences to the family of Pamela Goddard on the loss of their mother.
"We are committed to providing high quality patient care and are sorry that on this occasion the family feel that that standard has not been met.
"We have received a formal complaint, which we have responded to, but are carrying out further investigations at the request of the family.
"The presence of pressure sores is associated with a twofold to fourfold increased risk of death, but this is because pressure sores are a marker for underlying disease severity and other co-morbidities.
"Mrs Goddard was receiving complex treatment for a number of medical conditions from a number of health care organisations at the time of her death."

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