Elderly Patients suffer Poor Care and Neglect in the NHS as Hospital Staff finds them too Burdensome

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 27th, 2013

Week in Review

One of the big problems with national health care is old people.  They cost a lot.  And consume a lot of the limited resources available.  Especially with their repeat hospital stays.  Becoming too great a burden for some hospital personnel.  Leading to poor care.  And neglect.  As this family in Wales experienced (see NHS neglect: Calls for inquiry after woman’s death by India Pollock posted 7/25/2013 on BBC News Wales).

“It was absolutely appalling,” a relative said. “Quite often I’d go in to visit her and I would find that she had been left nil by mouth for several days until she was weak and wasn’t able to lift a glass of water to her mouth, she was dehydrated.”

Another family member said: “We sat by her bedside until her tongue swelled up and cracked and her lips split open for want of hydration.

“She became delirious at first, then barely conscious, almost coma-like…”

The health board said it would conduct a Protection of Vulnerable Adults (Pova) investigation.

However, the board did not contact the family for six months. It apologised and said that lessons had been learnt but no Pova proceedings took place.

When the woman was readmitted in 2012, relatives said they discovered the same problems.

They reported their concerns to social services which is when they learnt that a Pova investigation had not actually taken place.

Pova proceedings were then used and a number of allegations were proved.

The health board admitted giving unnecessary sedation and failing to administer prescribed medication.

The board also failed to care for the woman’s amputated leg.

A family member added: “We explained how her prosthesis could be taken off and showed them the bag of clean amputation socks that we’d taken in for her.

“We also gave them oils to treat her leg to ensure it didn’t become inflamed. We explained it all to the staff.

“When I complained that she was having unnecessary sedation, they said it was because she was screaming at night. When I asked her why she was screaming at night, she told me that they hadn’t taken her leg off in the two weeks that she’d been there.

“A member of staff pulled back the bedclothes and sat by the side of her bed and took her leg off with me, and took off the urine sodden socks that had been left on her amputation for two weeks and he turned away in disgust, holding the urine sodden socks at arms’ length.”

Recommendations were put in place, but the family said there were similar issues when the woman was admitted to Neath Port Talbot hospital in August 2012.

Then she was transferred to the Princess of Wales Hospital, where she died in November.

The family said they were told by staff that they were stopping her medication as she was dying of pneumonia.

However, a post mortem examination was carried out and the coroner’s report said her lungs were free of chronic disease, and that she died of a heart attack…

Peter Tyndall, the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, said: “It’s absolutely tragic for the individual and for the family, and I think although there are lots of people who have very good experiences of the NHS in Wales, there are still too many cases of this kind occurring.”

He said there had been a 30% increase in complaints about the NHS in Wales in a year.

This is our future.  What we can expect under Obamacare.  As the government moves us closer and closer to national health care.  Poor care.  Neglect.  And an unfeeling bureaucracy.  Who will look at our loved ones with contempt.  Annoyed by their excessive health care needs.  Looking for any opportunity to withhold their medications so they just hurry up and die.  So they can go and treat less burdensome patients.

You won’t find the phrase ‘death panel’ in Obamacare.  Just as you won’t find them in the NHS.  But they have one.  It’s called the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient.  A death panel by another name.  Which lets patients supposedly die with dignity.  After consulting with the patient’s family.  But that didn’t happen with this patient in Wales.  And, sadly, it’s not an isolated incident.

For those of you who wanted Obamacare, for those of you who want national health care, this is what you have to look forward too.  It’s not utopia.  It’s trying to do more with less.  Which is just a recipe for poor care and neglect.  For the only way to cut costs so you can provide health care to more people is by giving everybody a less costly and a lower quality level of care.  It’s simply math.  The more people you treat the less each person gets.  And things like this become a little too common in the NHS.  As they will under Obamacare.

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