Poor Care: Samantha White Tells Her Mother's Story

The Huffington Post UK   Dina Rickman First Posted: 15/02/2012 06:04 Updated: 15/02/2012 09:00

Sally Abbott Sienkiewicz
Sally Abbott-Sienkiewicz, who died in November 2010

Samantha White's mother Sally Abbott-Sienkiewicz was 56 when she died in Glenfield hospital in 2010.

The 37-year-old White feels her mother suffered a "total lack of care" while terminally ill with lung cancer and pneumonia.

Suzanne Hinchliffe, chief nurse at the trust which runs Glenfield, said in November: "It is clear that we completely failed Mrs Abbott-Sienkiewicz and her family, and for that we remain very sorry."

But here Mrs White tells The Huffington Post UK that she still cannot "erase the memories" of what happened.

"I want to talk about it if it helps to change one nurse's attitude. If it helps people to have more care or compassion then that's a good thing.

"When she got in there they didn't know what to do with her. She was a terminally ill patient who had apparently went in to get over a bout of pneumonia.

"She had lost use of her legs, she couldn't speak, she knew what was going on around her. She was left in a hospital bed for seven hours, that was horrendous: to see my mum lying there in pain and discomfort, scared out of her mind, while all these nurses were chatting at the desk.

"The thing that sticks in my mind now was how much pain she was in. No one was willing or able to help, there were rude nurses that would tell us to sit down. They told us to keep quiet because there were other people on the ward to consider.

"I begged them to take her away from the hospital but they assured me it was the best thing for her. If we'd have moved her out of that ward I'm convinced she wouldn't have been in so much pain.

"She could not speak, she would try and communicate but because something had gone wrong in her brain, you could see she was trying to get out of bed, she was so aware. That's what made it so horrific. She was nodding, she was totally and utterly aware. You could see her breathing, it was obvious she was in so much pain. We all knew, our family knew. There were things that happened in the end that I really can't talk about. It was awful, absolutely awful.

"I went up to the nurse's desk they were totally dismissive, they didn't want to know because they didn't know what to do. There was no one there authorised to increase her pain medication, it was so horrendous.

"We were up at that desk every time my mum was crying out in pain, trying to get her pain free again. Nothing would happen, they would dismiss us, they would tell us that my mum wasn't a priority.

"This is what I'm living with now, that pain of seeing her and wanting to help her. These people are supposed to be caregivers, there wasn't any care, there was no dignity for my mum. I'm a fair person, I can see that wards are busy. But this should never have happened. Absolutely horrendous.

"I wrote a 12 page letter of everything that happened about my mum's lack of care. We got nothing back from the hospital, they didn't apologise. It was absolutely awful. I sent a second letter of complaint in after getting the patients' association on board. We felt like we were being ridiculed. I walked out of there feeling worthless and useless. They apologised in November when the patients' association report came out.

"I can't stomach to read other cases because it brings back memories. I'm scared, if any of my family members were ill, I just would not want to go into hospital.

"Some hospitals are fantastic, they know what they are doing. When my mum was taken to a general ward in Glenfield they just didn't know what to do. Oncology knew what they were doing.

"The doctor, a junior doctor who we did see, was a young lad who didn't really have a clue. It was pretty much everyone on that ward. My mother shouldn't have been there."

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