'The hospital killed my mum'
PUBLISHED: 04:26 11 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:26 24 May 2010
AN ELDERLY mother was left naked and sitting in her own faeces before she died at Weston General Hospital. The hospital's chief executive, Mark Gritten, has apologised six times in
AN ELDERLY mother was left naked and sitting in her own faeces before she died at Weston General Hospital.The hospital's chief executive, Mark Gritten, has apologised six times in one letter for a catalogue of errors in the care 77-year-old Mary James received at the Grange Road site. Distraught daughter Pauline James-Kelly, of Manor Road, Weston, told the Weston & Somerset Mercury: "I know the hospital killed my mum."Pauline, a manager at North Somerset Crossroads Caring For Carers, lost her mum in August. Amongst other things, Mary was struck down by the potentially lethal superbugs C-diff, a bacterial illness, and MRSA. Mary was admitted into hospital after suffering a stroke.But following an investigation into her death, prompted by her daughter's complaint, Mr Gritten wrote the damning letter describing the care she received as 'below an acceptable standard.'* The first apology came after Pauline raised concerns when a staff nurse claimed her mother was exhausted after having physio treatment, when in fact, none had been given. She was told her mother 'was very well indeed and perhaps seeked attention when people didn't come in'.Mr Gritten wrote: "I apologise for the manner and incorrect information provided by the staff nurse on Berrow ward. The issue has been addressed with the member of staff concerned."* The second apology refers to an incident when Pauline's father arrived at the hospital to visit his wife, to find her uncovered and sitting in her own excrement.Mr Gritten wrote: "Staff endeavour to provide a high standard of care including hygiene care. We failed to achieve an acceptable standard of hygiene and your mother's dignity was compromised and for this I apologise."* The third came after Pauline was asked by two different members of staff what the discharge plans for Mary were, when she was under the impression she was too ill to be discharge.Mr Gritten wrote: "I apologise for the confusion in respect of your mother's possible discharge. The case manager dealing with the discharges had not familiarised herself with an up to date condition of each patient. This has prompted a change in practice and all details are checked with the nurse in charge prior to contact with relatives."* Apology number four came after a staff nurse told Pauline that Mary, who used to run The Criterion pub in Upper Church Road with husband Brian, had refused her medication when offered it orally. Pauline replied that her mother would refuse as she had great difficulty swallowing and was on a feeding tube. A nurse also discussed menu choices with Mary before being told by Pauline that there was a notice over her bed informing staff that she was on 'soft diet only'. Mr Gritten's fourth apology reads: "I apologise for the confusion in respect of PEG (tube) and oral feeding. I agree this issue does give cause for concern and the matter will be addressed with all staff on the ward. Nutrition is an essential part of care provided to all patients. I am more than disappointed that it did not receive sufficient emphasis in your mother's case."* The fifth apology came following a complaint by Pauline on comments her mother's bed 'was better served for someone who can be rehabbed.'He wrote: "I uphold your complaint that the comment is unacceptable. I sincerely apologise for this remark."* The final apology was delivered as Mr Gritten summed up the nursing care given to Mary: "In conclusion, I apologise that the nursing care provided to your mother fell below an acceptable standard."Pauline said: "My mother also contracted C-diff in the hospital which reoccurred four times and she had MRSA and lost her battle in August. "I know the hospital killed my mother and nothing will change my mind. My goal now is to try to help other people so they don't have to suffer what my mother went through and also my father and I watching it. Weston General needs cleaning up and people need to campaign about it."Mr Gritten finishes his letter by saying: "It is my hope that this letter will in part help to provide some answers to your questions. If you would like an opportunity to discuss this letter in more detail, we would be happy to facilitate this.