Stafford Hospital scandal: 'Her dignity just flew out of the window'
THE daughter of a woman who died at Stafford Hospital said her mother's dignity "flew out of the window" when she was admitted.
Denise Harrison's mother died after a combination of illness, a botched operation and contracting a bug at the hospital.
Denise, 50, said her mother Dorothy died after spending nine weeks in the "hell hole".
Her mother, a retired office worker from Stafford, was admitted in December 2008 suffering with pain relating to Crohn's disease.
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A scan revealed parts of her intestine had fused together so medics recommended an operation to rectify it.
Denise, of Barton, was told that her mother's surgery was a success.
Two days later Dorothy was admitted to the critical care unit after developing pneumonia. While on the ward she contracted a bug and Denise was told to "prepare for the worst". But in late December her mother was taken off her ventilator and transferred to a general ward.
"Things just went from bad to worse," said Denise, who sat at her mother's bedside every day.
"They moved her in the middle of the night and that night she fell out of bed and broke her right arm. I rang the critical care unit the next morning and was told that she had been moved to a general ward. When I called the ward they told me she was fine and had a good night."
Denise said her mother had snapped the bone in her upper arm but had to wait for two days before she was given an X-ray. She said the standard of care her mother received on the ward was "appalling". She said: "There was no dignity, her dignity flew out of the window the moment she went on to that ward."
She said her mother was not washed properly, the bed sheets were filthy and the toilet was so dirty that she cleaned it herself. She was left for long periods of time in her room without any member of staff checking on her and her water jug was often left empty. The emergency buzzer was out of reach and on one occasion when she used it no one came.
"She started choking on her medication," said Denise. "I was trying to help her and pressed the buzzer but no one came.
"It was just unbelievable. We just feel as though that hospital was a hell hole."
Eventually Dorothy was readmitted to the critical care ward because she had become dehydrated. A doctor confirmed she was suffering from pancreatitis.
Dorothy died on January 31, 2009, aged 69, from a combination of hospital bug Clostridium difficile, pancreatitis, ischemic heart disease and the laparotomy.