Grieving family hits out over mum's care at Morriston's Hospital
A LEAKING roof, syringes on the floor, machines not connected properly and inattentive nurses were some of the problems encountered by a terminally ill mum, her son claimed.
Ethel Stewart, 75, former postmistress in Ynysforgan and mum of Swansea Council cabinet member for finance, Rob Stewart, died at home on September 9 after a brief illness, during which she was treated at Morriston Hospital.
However, her family said they were upset by the treatment she received, and believed patients were not being "given the care they deserved".
Rob Stewart said: "My overall opinion of the ward was that there was very little care. I believe it could be considered neglect. I would not ever want to be a patient in that environment."
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABM) has reiterated an apology for the areas of Mrs Stewart's care where they did not meet expected standards.
But Mr Stewart, who has submitted a formal complaint, said he wanted to speak out in case other families were in a similar situation and felt they could not.
Mrs Stewart went into Morriston Hospital in August after suffering pains.
"She had a suspected kidney infection," Mr Stewart said. "She spent two days in a clinical decision unit on a trolley without a bed.
"She was in severe pain. She was told she had kidney stones, given antibiotics and discharged.
"Around a week and a half later she was taken back into Morriston Hospital. Further scans identified her as having terminal cancer which had spread from her lung to her liver.
"She was given a prognosis of having a short period of time to live.
"She was terminally ill, and in a ward that was leaking and damp. There were nets down on the floor (for the leaking roof).
"We were told Mum needed an air mattress — it took a week (to come) and this caused sores on my mum's ankles to become ulcerated.
"Prior to that we found syringes under the bed, one was full, one was empty.
"She was also on a glucose drip because she was diabetic. It wasn't connected properly and the contents had got on to the floor.
"And when the machines stop working they start to beep. It became a real bugbear for my mum, especially during the night.
"On one occasion we counted it beeped for 22 minutes."
He said he complained to the hospital and the head of nursing did offer an apology, but he still wanted to speak out.
However, Mr Stewart added: "The palliative care nurses from Spice (Swansea Palliative Intermediate Care Team) and the GP surgery staff were absolutely fantastic. It seemed to me to be assessment and treatment, not care."
The councillor also said he felt staff were insensitive when his family were told to pick one person to call the ward, "because nurses did not have time to answer calls".
Mr Stewart said he had submitted a formal complaint, but two months on had only received a holding response.
A spokeswoman for ABM said: "Once again, we would like to extend our apologies for the areas of Mrs Stewart's care where we did not meet our expected standards.
"The quality of care we deliver to our patients is extremely important to us and is of the highest priority.
"We can give our assurances, the concerns raised by Mr Stewart while his mother was in our care, were addressed at the time, and processes put in place which continue today on the ward.
"During Mrs Stewart's time on the ward, the head of nursing met with the patient's family to discuss their concerns and explain the steps being taken.
"Direct contact numbers for both the ward sister and head of nursing were also provided should the family have any further concerns; none were received.
"Full details of the steps taken and processes put in place to further improve quality of care on the ward will be included in the written response to Mr Stewart's recent letter of complaint."