NHS bosses in South Yorkshire have apologised after a dementia-suffering pensioner was sent home from hospital with a tube for a drip still inserted in her arm, barefoot and naked except for an open-backed NHS gown.
Lily Winfield, 77, from Barnsley, was admitted to ward 20 at Barnsley Hospital a week ago last Wednesday after suffering a type of stroke known as a transient ischaemic attack.
The OAP, who has vascular dementia and diabetes, was discharged three days later on Saturday, and sent home in an ambulance because her daughter Joy Stafford, whom she lives with, was at work.
But Ms Stafford was outraged to discover that when her mother arrived home, a cannula – the needle used for an intravenous drip – was still in her arm.
And despite the winter cold her mother was wearing just an NHS gown while her clean and pressed nightclothes were still unworn in her suitcase.
She says that when she complained, blundering hospital staff were forced to send a rapid response team to remove the device to prevent the risk of infection.
Hospital chiefs have since apologised and told her an investigation had been launched, but she said there could be no excuse.
“It’s disgusting. I’m a carer myself and I always think ‘what if that was me in that bed or chair? How would I want to be treated?’
“You think they are in the best place for them, in the hospital, and this makes me not want to send her there anymore.
“She must’ve been freezing. I took her straight upstairs and washed her. I took a photo of the cannula and what she looked like – it was just shocking.”
Now Ms Stafford, 43, said despite the apology, she is considering making a formal complaint.
“It upsets me to think that people get treated like that.
“I know they are overworked but I don’t know how they can work there and not care.
“I feel because she is a certain age and has dementia, they thought ‘she’s got dementia, she’ll never know.’”
Barnsley Hosital’s website boasts of the “proud” record of its Care of the Elderly Department, which offers multi-disciplinary specialist assessment as well as generic care of the elderly.
“We are proud to be in a position as the only hospital locally that can offer specialist clinics in falls & frailty, cardiac disease in the elderly and syncope, stroke services (including rapid access stroke care), Parkinson’s disease and continence promotion.
“We are very proud of our department, which provides a comprehensive range of services for the older people of Barnsley.”
Heather McNair, Barnsley Hospital Chief Nurse, said: “We are very sorry for Mrs Winfield’s experience and, after speaking with her daughter earlier this week, are already underway with a thorough investigation.
“We expect all our patients to receive the highest standards of dignity, care and treatment and any experience that falls short is taken very seriously and I have asked for this matter to be dealt with urgently.”