Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

My dad was a GP for 40 years. The NHS let him down when he needed it most…

Read the full article  By an Anonymous doctor 

As a doctor myself, I have rarely seen healthcare from the side of the patient. My trust in the system has disappeared

When my dad went into hospital I promised I would get him home. I wasn’t being honest. As a senior doctor in the NHS looking after seriously unwell patients, I know many octogenarians with his problems who are admitted to hospital don’t survive. As a GP for more than 40 years, he knew this too.

Dad fought through operations, infections, depression, pain and distress over months in hospital. Much of his struggle wasn’t against his underlying illness, but against the consequences of what I considered mistakes, oversights and failings in his care.

Most of the errors appeared to be avoidable. Two days after he was admitted, he became confused and drowsy, with laboured breathing. Mum was in tears. She had never seen him like this and knew something was wrong, but she couldn’t get anyone to take her concerns seriously. She spoke to nurses, junior doctors, the ward sister and the consultant overseeing Dad’s care. Each time she was told politely that she was wrong, that she was overreacting, that everything was fine. She wonders if it was because she is an elderly woman with no medical knowledge, who speaks English with an accent. By the time I arrived, it was obvious to me that he had sepsis. He was transferred to the intensive care unit moments later.

I lost count of everything that went wrong. Medications weren’t given when prescribed, specialists that he needed to see never showed up, and tests and procedures were delayed or cancelled. I kept a diary of those miserable months. It’s a novella. It’s too painful to read, a contemporaneous record of missed opportunities that, if avoided, might have made Dad’s final months less traumatic. (Click on the link to read more)



Filed under: NHS, NHS Blunders

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