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"I cleaned my dad (91) like you would a baby": Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin discharged elderly Forres man despite fluid around heart and chronic diarrhoea


By Ewan Malcolm

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A MORAY man says his 91-year-old father's dignity has been "snatched" from him after he was discharged from Dr Gray's Hospital while still suffering from numerous conditions.

The 91-year-old was taken to A&E at Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin after having difficulties breathing where he suffered a cardiac event. Picture: Beth Taylor
The 91-year-old was taken to A&E at Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin after having difficulties breathing where he suffered a cardiac event. Picture: Beth Taylor

Forres resident Chris (64), who wants to remain anonymous, says his father was not well enough to be discharged and that it took more than three weeks to secure adequate follow-up care.

His father was taken to A&E on September 30 after developing difficulties breathing.

He was eventually transferred to the high dependency unit where he had a "cardiac event" on his first night.

Chris says his father was then overprescibed tramadol and that, "in his delirium", he ripped out his catheter requiring subsequent blood transfusions.

He was discharged just a few days later on October 13 with fluid still present around his heart and in his lungs.

His discharge documents noted that he had been diagnosed with pneumonia, NSTEMI (a type of heart attack), acute kidney injury, blood in his urine and decreased mobility. He also had chronic diarrhoea.

However, the documents omitted the delirium, catheter problem and the blood transfusions.

Chris said: "I don’t think dad was anywhere near ready for discharge because he was incredibly weak and still had uncontrolled diarrhoea.

"No care package was put in place and although the staff promised to contact the district nurses in Forres, they were not informed of his discharge or needs.

"I eventually informed them myself on the morning of October 16 and they attended later that day to change his catheter promising to return in ten weeks' time."

Chris himself is frequently housebound due to numerous serious conditions including chronic pain and his wife works 28 miles away from their home in Forres.

But he says that despite his family's circumstances he was told that his father was not ill enough for short term care.

Chris said: "Dad lives alone in a two-storey house with a stair lift to the only bathroom.

"You can imagine the appalling and embarrassing mess the family had to deal with that first weekend.

"We really couldn’t provide him with what we consider to be adequate and safe care.

"In my nearly 65 years I have never seen as much as my father’s bare feet. That changed drastically.

"He was disgusted with himself, deeply embarrassed and felt ashamed.

"My brother-in-law and I cleaned him like you would a baby.

"Sorry to be so explicit but people need to understand how his dignity has been snatched from him."

Chris says his father had to be taken back to A&E by ambulance twice despite being deemed fit enough to be discharged after his initial stay at the hospital. Picture: Beth Taylor
Chris says his father had to be taken back to A&E by ambulance twice despite being deemed fit enough to be discharged after his initial stay at the hospital. Picture: Beth Taylor

Since being discharged, Chris' father has been taken back to A&E twice.

However, the family have now been able to secure short term care.

But Chris claims they wouldn't have been able to do so without his wife's 15 years of experience and knowledge of working within the NHS.

"I don't think we would have been able to source care without my wife's knowledge" Chris said.

"So how do the public know where to turn for help?

"NHS Grampian, Health and Social Care Moray and local GP practices need to have a hard look at the distinct lack of care and common sense in the area.

"There is no joined up coherent pathway for the public."

He added: "From our experience, the whole health and social care conglomeration is an absolute disaster and not fit for purpose.

"Just no joined up service at all and an old man now forlorn with no dignity left."

NHS Grampian cannot comment on individual cases.

However, a spokesperson for the health board said that they "always welcome" the opportunity to discuss concerns regarding patient care with families directly.

The spokesperson added: "We always strive to deliver the best possible care and when we don't get things right we want to be able to act on feedback.

"Our hospital and community teams work closely with families to try to ensure people are safely discharged when they are medically ready to leave hospital.

"Appropriate follow up care should always be put in place where required.

"Home and care home settings are better for the long-term care of elderly people than acute hospital settings.

"The Health and Social Care Moray Access Care Team is the single point of contact for all initial enquiries about care and support, making it easier and quicker for people to get the right information and services they need."



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