Hospital stay ruined by 'volatile' patient

PUBLISHED: 13:30 11 July 2011

The handling of the move has been criticised by town councillors and care groups

The handling of the move has been criticised by town councillors and care groups

Archant

A TERMINALLY ill grandmother was forced to endure a week of screaming profanities when a mentally ill patient was placed next to her at Weston General Hospital.

Hospital bosses have been accused of not doing enough 
to help 86-year-old Irene Tyler during her short stay on 
Kewstoke Ward last month.

Her son, Ray, claims ward managers ignored his calls to remove a woman who was moved to the ward in the last week of his mother’s stay, before she left for Weston Hospicecare in Uphill on June 27.

He says the woman, who arrived on June 20, would constantly scream and swear from her bed on the ward.

The situation impacted on the health of his mother, who has been given only a month to live after being diagnosed with throat cancer two weeks ago.

Mr Tyler, aged 56, said he asked the woman to be moved on a daily basis and he claims he was ignored when he made a complaint to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).

He said: “What kind of hospital system allows terminally ill, weak and delirious patients to suffer screaming obscenities and violent threats when they only have a short while to live?

“Every time I asked if the patient could be moved I was told there was nowhere to put her. I was just relieved to get my mother out of there.

“The whole episode got to my mother, whose health has actually picked up since leaving the ward.”

Irene, who is originally from Essex, worked as a postmaster at Berrow Post Office before retiring 20 years ago. Her husband, Leonard, died four years ago, aged 84.

A spokesman for Weston General Hospital said nurses were not always aware a patient could be volatile before moving them to a ward.

He said: “In every hospital it is the case that sometimes patients present to us with health problems that mean they are not fully aware of their behaviour related to their medical conditions and the impact that it may be having on other people.

“It is our policy to treat all patients with dignity and respect and to ensure that where patients are unaware of their behaviour, we minimise the risk of harm to themselves, other patients and visitors.”

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