NHS say sorry to widow over 'care failings'
NHS Fife has been forced to apologise to a widow over care failings towards her dying husband at the Queen Margaret Hospital.
The widow, known in the decision as Mrs C, complained to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.
Her husband was referred by his GP to Queen Margaret Hospital in April 2009. The symptoms were a cough, shortness of breath and enlargement of the spleen.
Although Mr C had an operation to remove his left kidney in July 2009 as a large tumour was found, it was not until a year later that he was also determined to have metastatic renal cancer with pulmonary lymphangitis.
Mrs C was aggrieved at the length of time it took for her husband to receive a diagnosis. She said there was a lack of urgency and avoidable delays.
She was also of the view that it took too long to refer him to the Western General in Edinburgh.
She alleged that whilst he was a patient at the Queen Margaret Hospital, her husband was moved at inappropriate times including midnight on one occasion. She said that generally the attitude of staff concerned with his care was unreasonable. Mr C died in August 2010.
The ombudsman was satisfied that there were avoidable delays in investigating Mr C's condition and that there was a relative lack of urgency. It was recommended the NHS Fife board apologise to Mrs C for the delays and arrange for the urology MDT cancer network to review the case and act upon any recommendations made.
On the delays complaints, the ombudsman ruled that histological investigations and a bronchoscopy should have been carried out an earlier date. "There was a failure to chase up mediastinoscopy results and there was an associated failure on the part of another hospital to deliver them within a reasonable time," he said.
Again the ombudsman recommended an apology and for the board to look at their monitoring and follow-up procedures with a view to making them more robust.
On complaints about the moves, the ombudsman stated, "The advice that I received was that moving a patient at a very late hour without there being significant clinical reason to do so was not good practice."
On the inappropriate staff behaviour claims, the ombudsman said, "I am fully aware of Mrs C's great concern about this aspect of the matter and I can fully appreciate that if Mrs C thought that communication with Mr C was unhelpful or inappropriate when he was gravely ill that this must have aggravated her distress.
"However, I am only able to make a decision on the basis of evidence available to me and this does not confirm that either Doctor 1 or any other staff behaved in an inappropriate manner towards Mr C."
This article appeared in Dunfermline Press 05 Apr 12
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May 20, 01:31