When our much loved, head of the family, informed us that he had a blood rash (under his skin) on his arms and legs, we of course, put our trust in the NHS and called out the GP, who advised calling an ambulance.
The paramedics checked dad over, following the care pathway and then took him to the Royal Blackburn hospital (RBH), where he was “assessed,” then stabilised (with a saline drip) then scans were made to find the underlying cause.
After his lungs, liver and blood tests came back clear, a CT scan was ordered.
This found a small blockage in the head of his pancreas. Dad was admitted to RBH ward C1.
Dad revealed he had spots of blood in his stools for about 2 weeks, but he was in good spirits, eating small amounts, taking fluids, toileting regularly, etc.
Dad’s care was to be discussed at the weekly Multi Disciplinary Team (MDT) meeting (held every Friday at RBH) where his treatment would be agreed and fed back to the ward consultant looking after him.
The family asked what was happening on the day, nothing returned in his notes we were informed by the nurses on the ward. They were to “chase up” what had been decided. In the meantime we continued to visit and were encouraged to “feed him up”
Later the following week, it was revealed that he had a small blockage in the head of his pancreas and they were investigating a “possible malignancy” – Dad would be having a biopsy and this would be sent away for testing. The biopsy went ahead and was sent off without incident.
Dad being old school, he simply wanted to get back home, to where he was in familiar surroundings. He gradually became more and more withdrawn.
We the family questioned what was happening, he had been discussed at the next MDT meeting, this time we were told that he had the biopsy and they were awaiting the results. The ward consultant called in the dietician who put him on food supplements (creon).
We kept on asking if he could come home, only to be told that dad would have to be discussed at that week’s MDT meeting (Friday) which would reveal if he could return home.
On the following Monday, the ward consultant called in mum to speak to her. Two sisters went with her, it was the worst news possible.
Dad had T4 final stage, inoperable, spreading cancer.
Dad was to be allowed to return home, with an “End of life pack” consisting of various injections for pain relief, creon food supplements, etc.
A DNAR (Do Not Resuscitate) was placed on his medical records.
The ward consultant made it clear this was not for discussion, he had made the decision alone. He had informed dad of their diagnosis while he was on his own and no family members were told. This explained why dad had become withdrawn in hospital.
Dad was “fast tracked” through the discharge process and brought home.
District nursing would take up his care and when his condition worsened, the specialist palliative care nurses (known as MacMillan nurses) would be called in and take over his care.
Three and a half weeks after being discharged from RBH, district nurses called in MacMillan nurses (RBH specialist palliative care nurses) and arranged for them to take over dad’s care, the family had been caring for dad up until then. They were due to come out on the Friday. What followed next, can only be described as highly irregular and completely bizarre!
On the Friday, MacMillan nurses rang the family home.
“We can’t come out and treat your father because we are missing some of your father’s important information!”
T4 final stage terminal cancer diagnosed by RBH, said to be “inoperable”, “End of life pack” issued and discharged from RBH, DNAR placed on medical records… what more information do you need?
MacMillan staff were unable to answer, but did state, “We’ll be back in touch on Monday!” – We never heard from MacMillan nursing staff again.
On the following Tuesday, spending weeks in bed had made dad’s legs very weak and he was becoming frustrated at not being able to go to the toilet himself.
Dad’s GP was called out to check him over. When the GP arrived, dad was checked over, everything was fine, it was due to being in bed for weeks.
Then dad’s GP gathered all the family present around as she “had some news for you all”
“I’ve got you all together because I have some news to tell you all. The hospital [Royal Blackburn hospital] will probably be in touch, but I thought under the circumstances I should tell you all now. I’ve just got your dad’s test results back from the hospital and they have shown he has not got cancer!
This means that we will be able to treat your dad, they will look at re-admitting him to hospital to feed him up, until he was stronger, then consider chemotherapy/radiotherapy, to kill the dead cells in his pancreas and this will improve the quality/length of his life.
There is no reason why he won’t live another year or 5 years longer. Your dad’s condition is treatable, the main thing is, he hasn’t got cancer!”
Of course, we were all delighted at the news, sheer disbelief!
When we told dad, he simply shouted out “YES!”
This was around teatime. I made a promise to dad to get to the bottom of what had gone on and hold them (RBH) accountable for what had happened.
Dad wanted to get out of bed but was unable to support himself as his legs kept giving way, he became very frustrated.
The district nurse was called out around 7pm.
We informed her of what our GP had told us earlier in the day and then she gave him an injection from his “end of life” pack, to calm him down as he’s restless.
Around an hour later, dad’s breathing became very shallow, so the family phoned the district nurse, asking for some oxygen to help dad’s breathing.
This was refused.
Within an hour, the district nurse turned up at the family home, without any prior warning.
“I’ve spoken to a senior colleague, please gather your family around urgently, your dad’s organs are shutting down and he is dying!”
From elation to heart break in just a few hours.
30 minutes later, dad sadly passed away.
This was in October 2014.
To this day (May 1st 2016), we, the family, continue to try to get answers and action from Royal Blackburn Hospital (RBH), East Lancashire Hospitals Health Trust (ELHT), East Lancashire Coroner’s office, Ministry of Justice, General medical Council (GMC), Lancashire Police, Care Quality Commission (CQC), our MP Graham Jones and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to little or no avail.
Even where we do have clear answers proving failures of care, in writing and in recorded evidence, getting any official body (with the exception of the ICO) to take action is impossible.
Laws have been broken.
NICE guidelines broken or not followed at all.
Regulations have been broken.
Medical records have been falsified, written and verbal accounts range from deliberately misleading to out an out lying.
Regulators have not been checking what they should have been checking, inspections have not inspected/acted on the very detailed information they have been given.
The East Lancashire Coroner’s post-mortem process is corrupt.
My promise to dad was to hold them all to account and ACT on what they have and have not done.
Our dad deserved better, we trusted the NHS, others should never have to experience what we have as a family.
This website has been set up as part of this process, to inform, question and hold the top brass to account, in a public form, where official bodies cannot block, delete, mislead or ignore.
What you will see on this website is the names and actions of senior members of NHS staff , whom have a duty of care to patients, a duty of candour to the families/public and numerous duties of standards in public life, many of which they have completely ignored.
I can name people on this website, because for every accusation/failing I level at them, I have written and/or recorded evidence that what I claim, is a true account.
It’s time for those senior staff to face the music and answer for their actions!