A healthy, active grandmother died in hospital after she was denied food and water for more than a week.And why..?
Well, you won’t believe this, but…
Joan Pertoldi, 76, was put on a nil-by-mouth regime while she waited for a routine hip operation at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Welwyn Garden City.
Her family was told she would be operated on within 48 hours but the procedure was put off three times – twice because the prosthesis due to be inserted into the joint was not properly sterilised.
Other delays occurred because there weren’t enough staff at weekends.And through all this, no-one thought to say ‘Hey, it’s been a while. Maybe we should feed and water her?’.
This wasn’t (directly) a lack of resources, or money, or trained, competent staff. This was gross negligence of the highest order.
And the same thing almost happened to my father – about, ooh, ten years ago, he had an obstruction in his throat and was booked in for an endoscopy. He too was nil-by-mouth. He, too, had delays and cancellations.
Three days later, when I took my mother in to see him to find he still hadn’t been fed (and there was no sign of any planned endoscopy or urgency in the medical staff that he’d not been fed, either) we both tore a strip off the ward sister, threatened to complain via all channels available and lo and behold, he was seen to immediately.
If he hadn’t had family to do that, who knows how long he’d have lain there, starving? Since, of course he – like Mrs Pertoldi, no doubt – was of the ‘Mustn’t grumble’ generation.
The operation eventually went ahead eight days after she was admitted but, severely weakened, Mrs Pertoldi never recovered and died in hospital a few weeks later.Oh, and it wasn’t just the starvation in her case either.
During her stay, Mrs Pertoldi was dropped by nurses on one occasion because they failed to consult physiotherapists’ notes which explained how much assistance she needed to walk.
After becoming dehydrated, Mrs Pertoldi developed a urinary infection which, the family say, lead to blood poisoning because doctors failed to tackle the problem.
She also developed a blocked bowel and contracted superbug clostridium difficile which caused her organs to fail, leading to her eventual death.Why is this not prosecuted as corporate manslaughter?
Hertfordshire coroner, Edward Thomas has now ordered the hospital to investigate the blunders and her family are considering legal action, claiming she died due to neglect.Why are they only ‘considering’ legal action? Come to that, why should they need to take this action themselves?
This is the true face of the glorious NHS that Boyle’s Olympic tribute failed to mention…
East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust offered ‘deepest sympathies’ to the family.
Director of nursing Angela Thompson added: ‘We now have a dedicated fractured hip unit at QEII. Since being created, we have seen a significant improvement in both the clinical quality of care as well as patients.’What, you mean you’re remembering to feed and water them now?