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My aunt died in agony at Southend Hospital
THE family of an elderly woman who died in agony after developing a horrific bedsore which left her spine exposed, have recieved a £20,000 payout from Southend Hospital.
The hospital reached an out-ofcourt settlement with the family of Molly Etty, 84, who died of a blood infection caused by a sore the size of fist.
Miss Etty was admitted to the hospital, in July 8, 2011, after she fell at home and needed a hip replacement.
But her family’s lawyers say the hospital:
Failed to ensure Molly was nursed on an air mattress as recommended in Nice guidelines to prevent pressure sores
Failed to implement a care management plan ensuring Molly was regularly turned and moved to prevent pressure sores, despite staff being aware that she was at risk of developing them
Failed for three days to send a nurse to assess her skin, despite a referral being made and regularly failed to monitor and assess Molly
Failed to diagnose the pressure sore until it was classed as grade 3 (grade 5 is the most serious).
Her niece, Lynda Clifford was told Miss Etty was having a routine operation and she would be back home within days, but two months later, she died of a blood infection after suffering a terrible 10cmx8cm wound which exposed the base of her spine and left her crying out in agony.
A referral was made for Molly to see a specialist nurse, but it was three days before she was examined.
On July 25, Miss Etty went on a brief visit home with two occupational therapists for them to assess her requirements for when she was discharged from hospital.
It was then that the severity of the former pharmaceutical assistant’s condition was discovered by her niece.
Although the sore continued to worsen, Miss Etty was discharged to a care home where shediedon September 7.
Mrs Clifford said: “The care home staff were fantastic and did everything they could to try and make my aunt comfortable.
“However, by this point the sore had become so deep and infected and she cried in pain as it was re-dressed.
“It was horrific to see her suffer so much, but there was nothing I could do because the wound had been left untreated for so long.
“Florence Nightingale said one of the first things nurses should learn is how to deal with the elderly and infirm. Molly couldn’t move herself very well so I can’t understand why she wasn’t immediately put on a special mattress.
“They need to get back to basic standards of nursing. It shouldn’t have happened in this day and age.”
Mrs Clifford, 59, said no apology or reassurance that improvements have been made since her aunt’s death had been forthcoming from the hospital.
She added: “I was appalled that she had been relatively healthy before going into hospital, but the lack of care she was given meant her health deteriorated so quickly.
“The staff at Southend Hospital seemed to have a complete disregard for patient compassion and dignity.
“They knew my aunt was at risk of pressure sores and knew the risks of not following appropriate guidelines, but they failed to protect her and give her the care she deserved.”
Sue Hardy, chief nurse and deputy chief executive at Southend Hospital said: “We would like to take this opportunity to extend our sympathies to the family of Miss Etty.
“We understand this case will be the subject of an inquest andit would therefore be inappropriate to comment further.”
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