Anne Clywd's disturbing account of the cruelty with which her husband was treated highlights concerns about the quality of nursing care in some of our NHS hospitals. She complains that he died "like a battery hen" and was treated by nursing staff with "coldness, resentment, indifference and even contempt". She is collecting evidence from friends who visited her husband to send to authorities at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
Anne Clywd's experience is happily not the norm and many patients tell of the high quality nursing and medical care in hospital. However bad her own experience it would be unfair to say that there is a 'normalisation of cruelty' now rife among NHS staff. However care in NHS hospitals is patchy and for those of us who work on behalf of people injured by avoidable Medical Accidents such stories are all too common.
The best response where people are treated as badly as Anne Clywd’s husband is to make a formal written complaint to the chief executive of the hospital. However, where poor care can be shown to cause quantifiable harm it is only right that patients should have a remedy by being able to seek Medical Negligence Compensation.
Probably the most common areas in which poor nursing care causes injury are Pressure Sores, medication errors, inaccurate recording of observations and results and failing to seek help when patients are deteriorating.
Some of these conditions can be extremely serious. Pressure sores can be painful and in recent cases we have acted for a patient whose pressure sore was so bad that he ultimately needed an above knee Amputation. Another was left unable to walk after an amputation of one leg when a pressure sore was allowed to develop on the heel of the remaining good leg. In another case a child suffered a serious Brain Injury because nurses entered blood test results in the wrong boxes and as a result staff failed to identify Hypoglycaemia. In an alarming number of cases nursing staff have recorded the fact that patients were gradually becoming more and more sick, overlooking the fact that they were developing Septicaemia and then Sepsis, until they had reached the point where they were critically ill and it was too late for effective treatment.
It is distressing to read of Anne Clywd’s story and helpful that she has drawn our attention to the appalling treatment her husband received. It is important that patients in hospital are treated with respect and dignity as well as being given good quality medical care.
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