A dying Dad was “robbed” of the chance to spend his final days with his only child following an error made by Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH).
Bernard Collins, aged 85, was battling with chronic kidney disease when he passed away while sitting up in a hospital bed.
His daughter, Tracy Ezra, from Bishop’s Stortford, was left holding his dead body for 45 minutes before a nurse arrived.
Furious with what she perceived as “negligence” in the hospital’s treatment, Tracy complained to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman – which partly upheld her grievances.
While the report clears the hospital of much of the wrongdoing she accuses, their physician advisor noted a delay in pneumonia treatment kept Mr Collins from spending the end of his life at home.
Ms Ezra, 50, who showed the report to the Observer, said: “I want other families to be aware of the kind of treatment we got. We have been robbed of my dad. I am an only child, my dad has been the man who taught me right from wrong and raised me and this is probably the reason I am doing this because I couldn’t have got more love from my dad.”
The Ombudsman’s report accepted Bernard should not have been left sitting up for this time but said the hospital had limited staff.
Bernard was admitted to hospital on January 26, 2017, and put on an end of life care pathway by February 10.
On February 13, he was examined for a cough by a junior doctor. His chest was clear.
Two days later, he needed supplementary oxygen and was given an X-ray. On February 16, a chest exam revealed “crackles and wheezing” and a blood test showed Type 1 respiratory failure.
It was only on February 17, four days after the initial complaint and two days after the X-ray, when Bernard’s consultant made the diagnosis of pneumonia. He died four days later.
The report concluded from this: “Overall, our physician adviser said that the standard of documentation and the shortcomings in the clinical assessments is disappointing, and it appears the Trust was not as focused on keeping him as well as it could have been.”
The report continues to say that their physician advisor “said it is not possible to say what the full impact of this was. He explained that Mr Collins was clearly very unwell and regrettably had a limited life expectancy. He said the pneumonia would not have directly related to his kidney disease, but there was a missed opportunity to have treated the pneumonia earlier and therefore for Mr Collins to have been able to get out of hospital earlier, which meant he may have had the opportunity to spend the end of his life at home, as per his wishes.”
Ms Ezra added to the complaint that a junior doctor at the hospital injected her dad with penicillin despite his allergy to the drug.
She told the Observer it was only thanks to her spotting his heart rate double on the monitor that the problem was quickly spotted.
The Ombudsman said this particular complaint had already been dealt with by the Trust and “appropriate action has been taken to ensure that the same thing cannot happen in future”.
The report recommends PAH write to Tracy to apologize for the failure to manage her dad’s chest infection adequately and explains how it will ensure diagnoses are reached quicker.