Ipswich Hospital: Why was dad allowed to die without dignity?

IPSWICH: Left without food and water in wet nappies, Michael Corder died without dignity.

That is the chilling accusation facing Ipswich Hospital after another angry relative today told of her despair at how the trust failed her father.

Deborah Beaney, trained and worked as a nurse for 25 years, but never before has she encountered the conditions her 75-year-old father was faced with when he was admitted to the Heath Road hospital last year.

Ms Beaney, of Shotley Gate, is today preparing an official complaint to hand to hospital chiefs and as a result, Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman said the trust are unable to comment on the case at this stage.

Last week the Care Quality Commission published a damning report revealing serious failings in the care of elderly patients at the hospital. The trust was one of three that was failing to meet standards out of the 12 inspected and was given 28 days to improve.

Mr Corder, who lived in Woodbridge, had an aggressive form of cancer and within three weeks of being admitted to hospital last June, he passed away.

Within three days of her father being taken into hospital, Ms Beaney and her step-mum became concerned about the quality of Mr Corder’s care.

Most Read

“Dad deteriorated very quickly,” she said. “At one point he could feed himself, give himself fluids and he could make it to the toilet.

“But within a few days he was incontinent, he was left unable to eat or drink on his own and it was not picked up on.

“He couldn’t make it to the toilet and would sit for hours in wet padded underwear.”

Although food was put in front of her father, Ms Beaney said no one seemed to check to see if he was able to feed himself.

She said his fluid balance chart, recording all fluid in and out, was not filled out at all, despite a doctor requesting it.

“As a nurse the chart is very important, without it you can’t tell if a patient is dehydrated or not,” she said.

“I could see patients without relatives helping them, they just sat there with drinks and food but they could not do anything for themselves, and nobody helped any of them.”

After several meetings with the nursing staff where Ms Beaney said she raised her concerns, she took it upon herself to take over her father’s care.

Every morning she would go to the hospital at 7am to give him a drink, some food, wash him and get him dressed.

Then she would go to university where she was studying for a masters degree.

And at about 5pm she would return to feed her father, give him a drink and change him.

“My dad turned to me and told me he had lost all dignity, it was heartbreaking,” said Ms Beaney.

On June 17, four days before he died, Ms Beaney said it became clear her father’s condition was terminal, but despite that he was kept on a noisy, busy ward.

Despite repeated requests for him to be moved to Somersham ward, it was left to Ms Beaney to negotiate her father’s transfer.

“He was dying and he was left in discomfort, nobody came to speak to us,” she said. “As a nurse it is first and foremost about basic care, about attending to patients basic needs, feeding them, making sure they have water, are washed and clothed.”

“They need to go back to basics,” she added. “It was one of the most horrific experiences of my life, and I have seen plenty of nasty things in my time.

“My dad and I were so close, he was like my best friend, we were always there for each other, especially in the last five years after mum died.

“He was a real gentleman, that’s why it was all the more difficult to see him in hospital in such appalling conditions. I feel he has been let down.”

Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman, Mrs Rowsell said: “We are very concerned and sorry if we fail to meet the standards expected of us.

“We would really urge people who have got concerns to let us know.

“We can’t comment on individual stories until we have carried out a thorough investigation.”

n What are your experiences of Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.