Clear and Present Danger of being a Geriatric Patient. Nov 6. 2012 | Comments (0)
On the 8th Feb. 2010, I was admitted to a Northern Hospital suffering from an acute attack of angeo-edema, which had been caused by a conflict of prescription drugs. I reached the hospital just in time for I was only minutes away from death by axphyation. The emergency people were wonderful, they saved my life. However, and this is a big HOWEVER, I was then transferred to a geriatric ward for further treatment and observations.
I received neither other than a drip feed with a huge bubble of air in the pipe. The staff refused to deal with this and I was forced to remove the device from my veins before dying horribly of an air embolism. I needed to use the toilet, and found the corpse of an elderly lady slumped over the toilet, and being in urgent need of one I could use, I went into the next one. What I found in there made me instantly vomit. Human excretia, some old and hardened, some fresh, covered the floor, the wash and toilet basin, and had splashed 12 inches or so up the walls. Bare footprints were evident in the mess indicating that patients had walked through it and had transferred it on the soles of their feet to their ward and beds.
I decided to leave. The ward sister refused to allow me to leave and summoned security guards to force me back into the ward for 'treatment'. Visitors were arriving and were queueing to enter the ward. I fought with the guards, and was beaten up for my trouble. What on earth could the sister have done with me if I had been forced back into the ward, struggling and fighting with the guards ?. I would have shouted to the visitors to check the toilets and she could not have allowed me to do that, so what could she have done ?. It doesn't stretch the imagination too far does it ?.
Two and a quarter hours later, with me on the point of collapse, I was being held prisoner in a confined area near the reception by the guards, a consultant arrived to try and persuade me to go back to the ward. I reminded him of the Nuremberg dictum, that being that it is not a defence to claim that one was only doing what they had been told to do, and he ordered my release.
The local police refused to investigate my complaints of assault and unlawful imprisonment, the I.P.C.C. ruled that, like the police did, what happened to me was 'for my own good', and the Court of Judicial Review refused to deal with my application for justice until I had exhausted all other means.
That left only civil action which I brought before the High Court. At a pre-trial review hearing, the solicitor for the Hospital Trust told me that I would never see the hospital managers or any of the staff in court, but threatened to burden me with huge costs. He offered to settle out of court, but I insisted upon the receipt of an unequivacal letter of apology, which I received in due course together with a modest sum of money I suggested.
After hearing about the recent experiences of Rusty Lee and her family, and the revelations made public by Peter Stamford, it now seems obvious to me that if I had been forced back into the ward, I would have been 'fast tracked' for the Care Pathway programme, and probably would never have regained consciousness.
First, we must have this abomination scrapped altogether and not just tinkered with. WE have the power to do this so let us get on with it NOW.
Then I will create a website giving advice to relatives and friends of those who need in patient care. For those poor souls who, like myself, have no next of kin, I will try and persuade people to form 'Patient Buddy' groups to look after them, and also each other should any need hospital care.
Finally, remember that YOU are in charge of your own destinies, YOU are in charge of the treatment you receive, YOU can refuse it if you are not satisfied with medical advice, and YOU can escape to safety without fear of assault and worse should you wish to do so.
Join me to force the present government, upon fear of losing the next election, to put the N.H.S. in order. We all grow old and frail, remember that. Act now whilst you have still 'got your marbles'.
(Former Detective Officer, retired).