Daily Mail, some 800 patients die of dehydration in our hospitals every year. That’s a higher figure than those dying of dehydration in elderly people’s homes. And those figures are just the officially recorded cause of death. The actual number of patients who die from dehydration could be far higher.
The figures for deaths through malnutrition in our hospitals stand at 284 in 2008, that’s up from 175 deaths recorded back in 1997. The squeeze on NHS food budgets and a lack of money made available for extra help feeding frail and elderly patients could be to blame. However, some of the problem may, according to anecdotal evidence, be due to an increasing reluctance by some nurses to attend to basic needs such as feeding and hydration of patients. Often this work is left to unqualified healthcare assistants.
These figures are for deaths attributable to malnutrition and dehydration. The true figures may never be known but we do know that a large number of elderly patients have their health impacted by poor nutrition. If these official statistics are true, then the NHS is owning up to more than 1000 people dying every year in our hospitals through lack of food or fluids. That’s one third of the number of people killed in road accidents each year. Unfortunately, unlike road deaths, where enormous sums of money are spent on speed cameras and other traffic calming measures, little appears to be done to address these entirely avoidable deaths.
There’s no other way of saying this… deaths caused in our hospitals through neglect in feeding and hydration need to be made a serious offence. It’s nothing short of state sponsored murder when patients die of thirst or hunger. Until someone takes responsibility and is jailed for this, patients will continue to die needlessly.