Sunday, 29 March 2009

Patient takes his own life after NHS blunders made him 'afraid to live'

This beggars belief.

Paul Steane took his own life at 45 because he could no longer endure the punishment that the NHS had inflicted on him.

But Paul Steane did commit suicide. He didn't do it because he wanted to die. He did it, terrifyingly, because he was afraid to live.

''That was how the NHS had left him,'' [his wife] says wearily. ''Terrified of life. He didn't kill himself because he was depressed at his condition, but because he was frightened of what else they could do to him if he had to go back to hospital.

''His legs had been amputated. He was blind. His vocal cords were so damaged that he could no longer speak. His breathing was laboured and painful. And his hands were so painful that he was petrified he would choke to death if the tube in his throat became blocked and he couldn't pull it out.

"But most of all he was utterly terrified he would have to go back into hospital."

Nuneaton hospital, who have the worst mortality statistics in the UK, 43% above the still unacceptable 'expected' rate, were responsible.

As a result of poor nursing care, a hitherto healthy man became one of the 59,000 people in this country who are permanently disabled or die each year because of poor hygiene or care in our hospitals. And in Paul's case, all because he was denied the most basic of human needs: a drink of water.

The letters his wife received from nurses are telling.

The letters, many from tearful nurses, highlight the lack of attention given to basic nursing care and hygiene during training. "It has made me determined to ensure that I give my patients the best of basic nursing care,'' one wrote, ''and it has made me recognise the importance of not becoming bogged down in tasks but in making sure they are eating and drinking.'' Another wrote of how ''too many in the profession are so concerned with budgets and targets that they forget something simple like ensuring someone has a glass of water.''

Paul's death was in 2003, so one would think that lessons had been learned by 2009.

The number of people working for the NHS is at an all-time high, driven by a rise in managers which outstripped the recruitment of nurses by four to one.

Plus ca change ...

Source: Daily Telegraph


AntiCitizenOne said...


Henry North London said...

Ive read Amanda Steanes book about her experiences I wish I had read it in 2005 I would still be in a job now.

I once turned down a job at george eliot

The reason being that I was virtually bullied in an interview and I decided there and then that wild horses would have to drag me back there

They phoned up six weeks later saying do you want the job then They were TTFO

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