There is again growing concern in the press regarding the increase of needless deaths in hospitals.
In the past week we have posted several blogs dealing with this subject and The Daily Mail on 24 July 2012 printed an article focusing on ‘How hundreds of patients are dying of thirst in hospital’. The story of a 22-year-old who died in hospital from dehydration shocked Britain. But his tragedy is horrifyingly common.
In our 16 July blog we made reference to Kane Gornys tragic experience whilst under the care of the UK’s top teaching hospital. The full events have now been unveiled.
Kane was only 22 years of age and had been admitted to undergo hip replacement surgery. Within three days of admission he died due to neglect by staff at the Trust. The Daily Mail reported that Kane pleaded with staff to provide him with water. Despite this he was ignored. In desperation the 22 year old contacted 999 from his mobile and the policeman who took his call witnessed him shouting to the nursing staff ‘can I have some water?’
Experts have confirmed that the signs of dehydration are easy to recognise. Further the young man had a form of diabetes which caused his body difficulties in respect of retaining fluid. Despite his condition, his pleas for help and the signs of dehydration, the medical staff simply ignored his desperate requests for a glass of water. Instead they sedated Kane without the provision of intravenous fluids and without monitoring him whilst he was unconscious.
This report has shocked the nation and rightly so. When a patient’s death has occurred whilst under the care of a Trust, due to dehydration, surely the following question has to be asked:
If nursing and medical staff are failing to deal with simple daily requests as well as failing to recognise the recognisable symptoms of dehydration, what standard of care is being afforded to those who are more vulnerable and who require higher levels of care? Further, how many more deaths have to occur before action is taken?
It is unjustifiable that a young man, who was immobile whilst recovering from surgery, was allowed to die simply because the nursing and medical staff could not spare a moment to listen to his pleas and provide him with hydration.
It would seem that long gone are the days when a patient could be guaranteed safety and comfort whilst under the care of the NHS.