Saturday, 6 March 2010

Words fail me...

Is it really possible for someone to die of neglect in a public hospital for want of a glass of water? Let me assure you that it is.

The case in question involves 22-year-old Kane Gormy who was incarcerated in St George’s Hospital, Tooting, London. Kane was suffering from a brain tumour and his medication’s side effect caused his bones to soften and as a result he required a hip replacement.

After Kane’s hip replacement he was obviously immobile and had to rely upon nurses to give him vital hormone medication to keep him alive. Despite knowing how important his medication was, Kane was not given it. Kane’s mother discovered him one day in a delirious state. Kane had been ignored and was dehydrated. He died just an hour later. In the run up to his death, staff had marked Kane down as a troublemaker because his behaviour was odd… it was odd because he was being denied his medication.

I can easily believe that this story is true because the same thing nearly happened to me just a year ago. I was left virtually untended in hospital, drugged up to the eyeballs on morphine that affected my behaviour. An outbreak of the Noro virus then ran through the ward and all visits were cancelled. Like Kane I was left to rot for almost two weeks by staff that seemed indifferent to my welfare.  I was punished for being uncooperative by being left in isolation.

Fortunately, one kindly soul noticed that I was extremely ill and I managed to make it to the operating theatre with about two hours to spare. I then spent five days in ITU with only a slim chance of pulling through. I was luckier than Kane but I can easily see how such a thing could happen. There is a culture of punishment, harsh behaviour and a lack of compassion on certain hospital wards.

I don’t know how such a tragedy can occur in a health service that’s been hosed with public money for the past decade or so. There are some very good and caring burses, but equally there are some slapdash and cruel people masquerading as nurses and health care assistants. There’s a culture of sloth and indifference in some parts of the NHS that borders on the criminal.

Apparently, in Kane’s case, his nurses were traumatised by what had happened and were offered counselling to enable them to get over the shock. Poor Kane was admitted to hospital with a brain tumour and yet the NHS killed him by denying him medication and hydration. How many more deaths will it take before someone is held to account and the system is overhauled?

PS: The poor lad even phoned 999 to try to get some water as he was being ignored!


  1. Yup, read his too in the Daily Mail and was wondering if you would highlight it.

    The paper says that the poor lad actually phoned 999 to ask for assistance; how awful is that.

  2. speechless.


  3. Its not uncommon; my mum managed to lose over 2 stone when she was being drip fed with a paralysed larynx. She was finally released with MRSA and bed sores with a BMI of about 14. On release she came to visit me, was admitted to my local hospital and staff at Shrewsbury actually made her better. Some bts of the NHS work quite well.

  4. I want to cry for this young man and his family, how tragic!!
    When an elderly family friend was in hospital, I used to visit each evening straight from work and every evening would find her in her chair in a wet nightie where she had spilt her tea/juice because she couldn't quite reach it from where the staff left it. She would stretch to get her tea and spill it. Her meals were also left just out of her reach so she didn't eat. Even though I asked for help in changing her and mopping the floor, no help was ever forthcoming. I was disgusted with the nursing staff, I would have been ashamed to call myself a nurse had I been on that ward. It strikes me that its left to family and friends to feed, clean and generally nurse patients leaving the staff to chat in the office. I know, I work in the NHS so don't tell me that they are too busy.

  5. Imagine if it were you or I in the situation, dying slowly of neglect. Shocking and all Labour will say is that they have pushed money into the NHS, but it seems that care comes down the list compared to Labours targets.
    Labour might as well introduce a Soylent Green system for all who are old, too drugged up to care, or too ‘troublesome’ to save us from suffering.
    So sad

  6. my father died from dehydration (amongst other things) in a local hospital. I found him distressed and so obviously dehydrated. i insisted that a doctor be called from the main hospital to sanction him being put on a drip - once given the okay - nurses took 6 hours to put him on. He died two days later. I wrote to CEO of hospital who sent me a letter containing 22 apologies for lack of care. I reported the case to police for death by neglect - this has gone to CPS and 2 years later i am still waiting for this to go futher. I am determined to make our local hospitals safer for patients. Anyone want to help me?


  7. I would like to be surprised by the DMs headline but I am not.
    As a nurse I have seen how awful staff can be to patients. They are judgemental and often cruel.
    When my son has been admitted (very rare condition requiring IMMEDIATE attention) he has been left for hours at times. Last time he was left for almost 5 hours before he had his drip started. It should have been done straight away after his blood was taken. Thankfully my son still classes as a paediatric so I can stay with him but this won't be the case much longer. When I read about this case in the DM I see my son! That could be him. He has autism so has communication difficulties and struggles in strange enviroments! What would they do to him if he lashed out? Along with being dependant on an array of medication to keep him alive! He has already had drugs prescribed wrongly. Morning meds to be given at night! Scary!
    The NHS is NOT a safe place to be now which is why I no longer work there. I can't lower myself to the standards I see as a patient and a parent.

    My heart goes out to the mum of the lad who died. It was a needless thing to happen. I wonder how many deaths can be attributed to neglect in an NHS setting?

  8. Unbelievable... To think the UK once had an NHS that was the envy of all other countries, how did it go all wrong ?

    I worked as a domestic in the early 90s, in a small cottage hospital, the care by all the staff and nurses was incredible, the meals were fantastic and the whole place was spotlessly clean.

    In 1992 , we started getting these yuppies in charge, paid 33 grand a year to pen push and come up with money wasting ideas.

    The hospital closed down, we got moved to another one 2 miles away as a brand new state of the art 11 million quid one was being built. The town was over joyed as it had an operating theatre, X-ray room, and doctors would be stationed there at all times, everyone was told they would be taken to this hospital in an emergency instead of the main one 26 miles away.

    Yes there is an operating theatre and X-ray department and all the other facilities a hospital should have, but none of them are in use. The hospital is being used as a convalesent home for the elderly, a place for them to await the end.

    Complaints of patient care being poor is rife. What a waste of money that was, no one seems to know what they are doing in the NHS.

  9. Unfortunately, there is so much emphasis on the academic side of being a nurse now that there are some really lovely caring people who are denied the chance to be a qualified nurse as they do not have the A levels required to train - yes, you do need to have a good basic education to be a nurse, but so much more important is the basic instinct to care and emphasise for people who depend on you either physically or mentally or both. There are too many boxes to tick, hospitals are too big and indifferent, the need to get people out as quickly as possible to get a bed space, managers who have no idea what goes on on the shop floor..... this is why I could never work in a hospital again, and why I feel so very saddened by stories which amount to criminal neglect and make me feel embarrassed to be associated with these uncaring and unproffessional sorry for this poor boy and his parents.

  10. I'm not surprised at all at this. When a terminally ill relative - riddled with many painful cancer deposits - was in hospital, she frequently used to telephone home in the small hours in tears at being made to wait HOURS for her prescribed pain-relief.

    She was on numerous different wards during her illness - on each and every one the nurses were indifferent and inattentive. They were bothered least of all by her need for nutrition or painkillers. On the one night she didn't have her phone, other patients reported their concerns about her untended while weeping in pain. They were told to ignore her as she was 'confused'. It seemed they felt confused people don't feel pain, nor need comfort.

    On our visits we noticed that the main nurse activity was writing up notes and chattering with each other about their social lives. Minimal time is actually spent with patients, even less on actually caring for them.

  11. Its all about the bottom line now. The compassion is being force out of the profession. You wouldnt want to be caught without family to make sure you are being cared for ...

  12. From my experience, the staff spend most of their time doing paperwork - in triplicate. They are so busy pushing paper, they don't have time to actually visit the patients that the paper relates to. You can get punished for not doing your paperwork properly, but presumably management will not complain too loudly if patients die as a result.

    We've had a few hospitalisations in our family in the last few years. On each occasion, either one of us has stayed in the hospital full time with the kid who needed treatment, or I have visited twice a day to deliver food and drink. My expectation is that these days, the family needs to provide much of the nursing and food. Kind of like how debtors prisons were run in the old days.

  13. Totally believeable - I've experienced it. I had to beg for a drink of water, not having hand any liquid for almost 24 hours following surgery. I phoned my friend in desperation, and she drove over immediately to help me out. If only I could have got out of bed to get a drink, then maybe I wouldn't have ended up on a drip following my friends intervention.

  14. Lisa-Student Nurse

    You should read the 'Death by Indifference' Report from MENCAP its awful some of the stories.

  15. Read this blog and you might understand the other side of it:

  16. My dad had something similar, he'd just had an operation and well. /Somehow/ had contracted MRSA. So of course they had to move him to a different ward, hell, his own room even.

    But this meant he was side lined and ignored. Because of his condition, he needed the bandages on his legs changed every few days and certain medication every so often. The nurses didn't do this, my mum did it instead when she visited. We weren't happy I must admit.

    The most entertaining thing was that my dad got so frustrated with the lack of care he was being given, at one point when they forgot to offer him lunch, he phoned the hospital from his mobile and was like 'Hi I'm a patient here in ___ ward, can I have my lunch please?'... Oddly enough the nurses soon appeared.

  17. "staff had marked Kane down as a troublemaker because his behaviour was odd"
    It's very difficult to be assertive in hospital in case you are branded as a troublemaker. And being polite doesn't always work either. A cousin who was in hospital recently was ignored by nurses, in spite of her impeccable manners, because she had a plummy accent. This was confirmed by a nurse friend who told me that if someone "talks posh" it is presumed they are up themselves and should be ignored.

  18. Good god! what a disgrace! criminal charges should be brought against those responsible, but I doubt that will happen... we have moved into a culture of "couldn't care less"... enough is enough...maby we should forcefully take our country back from these murdering scum... I think that we would be more than justified for the atrocities committed against us and our families.