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my complaint letter to NHS hospital

(44 Posts)
lilsmum Sat 30-Apr-05 14:06:06

here is my letter i sent off yesterday to the chief executive of the hospital dealing with lilly...i have took out personal details obviously

29th April 2005

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to write a formal letter of complaint concerning the treatment and care my daughter Lilly has received.

My daughter contracted Gastroenteritis and had all the signs of dehydration so I rang NHS direct for advice on this, they recommended phoning my emergency GP as it was out of normal surgery times, the emergency GP said to keep giving fluids yet 2 hours later Lilly had deteriorated and was vomiting every sip of fluids, and vomiting quite violently so I took her to A&E at Chorley hospital, they assessed her and transferred us to Preston hospital as Chorley have no paediatric department.

On arrival at Preston hospital she was assessed as having Gastroenteritis and dehydration. The doctors took blood and canulated Lilly, it took 3 attempts to get a canula in her hand, trying both hands. Lilly was admitted (19th March) and kept on fluids overnight. The next day (20th March) Lilly was assessed again, and was took off fluids as she had not vomited since the night before, they discharged her but gave me the ward’s number in case I needed further advice, and a 48 hour ward access in case I needed to take Lilly back in.

Lilly began vomiting again and also started with severe diarrhoea, with correspondence with the ward Lilly was re-admitted on the 22nd March, again they took bloods and tried to re-canulate Lilly, present in the room was me, my partner (lilly’s father), a nurse and a doctor called Octavia. The doctor tried to canulate in Lilly’s crook of her right arm first, to no avail, and couldn’t try in her hands and they had previously canulated or tried to there on the 19th March, so the doctor decided to try in Lilly’s left foot, as Lilly had previously been canulated on the previous admittance, and also just now in her arm, she was extremely distressed, the doctor tried the left foot and as my partner and I were observing, we saw everything what was happening. I had Lilly sat on my knee and her father was sat beside us both trying his best to calm Lilly down to no avail.

(page 2)

Being as these doctors dealing with Lilly so far are paediatric doctor’s you would think that they would have had plenty of experience and should be used to dealing with babies, I feel her actions while trying to canulate were very severe, she was very aggressive in trying to insert the canula and how she held Lilly’s foot/ankle,
Lilly at this point was writhing very severely yet this doctor kept what I would call..too tight of a grip on my babies ankle, she then proceeded to insert the canula repeatedly in the same spot on the foot also manipulating the needle in and out of Lilly’s foot, but didn’t achieve the goal and had to call another doctor in who then proceeded to insert the canula into Lilly’s right foot.

I feel the actions of the female doctor…Octavia, has resulted in the foot injury my daughter has suffered with for the past 5 weeks and of which she is still suffering with now as before this admittance to ward 8 my daughter was totally mobile with no problems what so ever with the foot in question.

Lilly was discharged on the 24th March, and recovered well from the gastroenteritis, she was actually limping in hospital but when mentioned to one of the nurses it was said that her feet would be tender from the attempted canula in the left foot, and the canula that had been inserted in the right foot.

At home Lilly continued to limp, but she was able to weight bear on the foot, even though she was slightly walking on the outside of the foot, On the 29th March I took Lilly to my GP concerning the limp, I explained about the attempted canulation - he said he thought it was a sprained ankle. However the limp got worse, and Lilly’s grandmother noticed that when Lilly was walking around one evening while undressed with no sock on, that there seemed to be a bony round lump sticking out the back of her heel, and where her ankle bone was not where it should have been, this was very worrying to see so I took Lilly to A&E at Chorley on 31st March.

Chorley A&E did x-rays on 31st March, and assessed her foot, one doctor said the bony lump looked like her tibia bone, and that if there was a fracture it may not show up for a few weeks as babies bones are lacking calcium and therefore are difficult to assess on an x-ray. Another doctor said he thought it could be an infection in her hip from the Gastroenteritis and to go home and give Ibuprofen for 4 days and come back on Monday 4th April, there seemed to be nothing to concern them on the x-rays. The Ibuprofen did not help so I went back to Chorley A&E on Monday 4th April, I saw a doctor for about 2 minutes who watched Lilly limp and said she was fine, to take her home and bring her back in a week if still limping.

The limp took a turn for the worse as Lilly could now not weight bear at all on her heel of her left foot, it was getting worse, not better, so off back to A&E we went…again on the 8th April. After a 3 hour wait, and no one coming near us really, a nurse came in with an envelope and said we are referring you to Preston hospital for the paediatric orthopaedic doctor to take a look.

At Preston the orthopaedic paediatric took a look at the foot, there was swelling, redness and it was also very hot on the heel, so they decided to keep
Lilly in and admitted her to ward 7. On arrival at ward 7, they took blood to test for
(page 3)

infection, and kept the canula in Lilly’s hand in case antibiotics were needed, I was told the bloods were “nearly normal” and saw Mr McEvoy on the ward round the following morning around 9.30am (9th April) he took a look at the foot and said it
looked like some sort of infection, so to give IV antibiotics to start fighting the infection, and that it could be a bone infection so he was airing on the side of caution,
he also said a bone scan would be done on Mon (11th April) morning, they also sent Lilly down for more x-rays after we had seen Mr McEvoy, when we got back to the ward after being in x-ray for a couple of hours I decided to ask one of the nurses (Cheryl) when would the antibiotics be started, she said what antibiotics?!? I also asked what the procedure for a bone scan was; I was asked what bone scan?!? The nurses knew nothing of what was planned, a serious lack of communication between doctors and nurses here!

Only by me pursuing, then on the Monday morning I was told the bone scan couldn’t be done that day, it was too busy so it would be done on the Tuesday (12th April), I was told a new canula would need fitting for the radioactive dye to be administered, on the Tuesday morning I asked when this would be done and the nurse (Ann) said she couldn’t understand why they wanted a new canula in, so she phoned down to nuclear medicine it was then said that Lilly didn’t need a new one after all, they could do it through the canula already in, so off we headed to nuclear medicine with the canula in Lilly’s hand that had been in for 4 days, when down there they tried to put the dye through the canula but said it wouldn’t go through – no good. They asked me how long it had been in and were shocked that ward 7 had sent her for a bone scan with a canula in that had been in for 4 days! They also said they had told the nurse that had phoned down that she needed to check to canula was working effectively and fitted correctly – she hadn’t done this. So we were told that nuclear medicine were too busy and that Lilly needed a new canula and the bone scan wouldn’t be done that day, this was all accumulating distress for Lilly, and myself, Lilly now had the old canula removed and a new one fitted (and I was told once the bone scan was done, this one would need to come out as would be contaminated and ANOTHER one put in!!) When the new canula was fitted the doctor covered both myself and Lilly in her blood. As I put across my views about the bone scan being delayed, thankfully the bone scan was done that day.

The results from the bone scan were clear, we got the results the next day Weds 13th April. I saw Mr McEvoy 3 times while Lilly was on the ward and was given 5 different possibilities it could be:

Soft tissue injury
Bone infection
Irritable hip
Possible fracture

Lilly was on IV antibiotics (Flucloxacillin) for 6 days in total, and then went onto oral antibiotics (Floxapen syrup) for 6 days after; Lilly was discharged on Thursday 14th April. The 6 day stay on ward 7 was an utter disgrace, all I did was remind, prompt, and chase for treatment, tests, information, even for food and milk for my baby. I even
(page 4)

had to remind them numerous times the times in which Lilly’s antibiotics were due…an utter joke.

On one occasion I needed to go and phone Lilly’s father to ask him to bring in more clothes for Lilly, Lilly was awake in her cot, with the cot sides up, playing quite
happily, the nurse in question was called Cheryl. I told her I needed to go and use my phone and could she keep an “eye” on Lilly while I was away, I was told of course, ” no problem” so off I went, it took me around 5 minutes to use my phone but on my way back up to the ward, there was a security guard standing in front of the door leading to the stairs, there was a fire alarm going off in the theatres so they couldn’t let anyone through till they had the all clear. It took around 10 minutes of waiting till the all clear was given and I headed back up to the ward, I was shocked at the sight that greeted me… Lilly was severely distressed, sobbing, with her injured leg caught through the bars in the cot, I looked around, obviously angry that my daughter had been left like that, there wasn’t one nurse near, not even in the surrounding bays, The frightening thing is that when Lilly was admitted I was told that I could do as much or as little care for her while in hospital that I wanted, thankfully I am not the kind of mother who would or could leave my child, and it is a good job really as the nurses couldn’t be trusted to look after my daughter for 15 minutes never mind 6 days, also mistakes and lack of care was happening while I was there so what would it be like without me there? The worrying thing is that the nurses were laughing and joking about Lilly being their only “patient” i.e. the ward was pretty much empty, so how would the ward be run with it full, when they can’t even manage with 1 patient. I was also made to feel like a pest for asking for a bottle of milk for my daughter or for anything I needed, on 2 occasions I was told to go and do Lilly a bottle myself in the kitchen I wasn’t supposed to be allowed in, there were also signs everywhere about no hot drinks on the ward, yet on numerous occasions I saw nurses around the ward with hot drinks.

Another point needed to be made is, not once did a see a nurse or doctor use the hand gel to maintain cleanliness and prevent the spread of MRSA, and they would come and give Lilly her IV’s then proceed to cross the bay and go straight to handling another child’s IV or wound.

On the Thursday 14th April when Lilly was discharged I spent the entire day trying to find someone in charge to whom I could make known of all that had happened, I was told Paula (family support worker) was off on holiday and there was no one else who did her job. Also there were 2 ward sisters, but both were off sick and the only other thing I could try was PALS, so off down to PALS I went, they told me the person I needed to speak to was the ward sister….mmmm how? None were there.
(page 5)

So I went back up to the ward and one of the nurses listened to everything I had to say, she just gave excuses really, not good enough.

Thursday 14th April, Lilly and I came home – thankfully, I don’t think either of us could have faced another day on that ward. Lilly was still limping as bad as
before she was admitted to ward 7, the heel was still very tender and swollen, and I was no closer to finding out what was wrong with her foot, and what had caused this injury to her foot, even though in my mind I already know – the wrongful and aggressive way the doctor on ward 8 (Octavia) had tried to insert the canula on the 22nd March, this whole episode with my daughter’s foot was way too much of a coincidence to not be linked with that evening.

The antibiotics (which I may add, did nothing to help her foot) has caused severe vaginal thrush, and a terrible skin infection caused by the high dosage given which has stripped Lilly of the nutrients and “good” bacteria her body uses and needs, so to add to her foot problem she is now having timodine cream for the thrush and dermol and hydrocortisone steroid cream for her skin infection, there were no indications apart from the limp that she had a infection of the bone (which Mr MCEvoy said he was “clinically treating as a bone infection), there has been no fever, no illness at all, which I have found out are usual symptoms of a bone infection, or any infection. The blood tests and bone scan confirmed there was no infection, so the antibiotics have done nothing…. Except add thrush and a skin infection to my daughter’s problems.

I am still awaiting a diagnosis, even after 6 days on the ward and 2 out patients appointments so far, I was also told on 19th April at a out patients appointment with Mr McEvoy that a ultrasound would be carried out at the end of that week, I even had to chase this up as when I phoned the ultrasound department on the 20th April I was told there was a waiting list and a ultrasound wouldn’t be done that quickly. I had to continuously phone Mr McEvoy’s secretary (Claire), and even spoke to Mr McEvoy himself about this, the ultrasound was done on Friday 22nd April and was clear also i.e. no infection seen.

Mr McEvoy had mentioned putting a plaster cast on Lilly’s foot/leg but would be done on her next scheduled appointment with him on the 26th April, why wait 4 days when I was there on the 22nd April, surely the sooner the cast was on, the better for Lilly?(Again me doing the chasing) So I asked at the fracture clinic while we was there for the ultrasound and they fitted a cast that day, the cast, I was told was to keep the foot rested ,as Lilly kept trying to walk on it, even though she still, even now cannot put her heel down and is not because of habit, its because she is still in pain. Now after seeing Mr McEvoy again on Tuesday 26th April Lilly will keep the cast on for a further 2 weeks (then it will be 7 weeks this injury has been present) then on the 10th May, x-rays will be done, if nothing shows again (!!) they will perform a MRI scan, which will be MORE trauma for my baby as they will need to give her a general, and put her to sleep for this.

I feel all that has been done has been a delay process for a diagnosis, I feel like I have done all the “leg work” and all the chasing and fighting for my daughter to be
(page 6)

treated, all I want is for my 15 month old baby to walk again, without pain, is that so much to ask ? This whole process has been so drawn out and long, I am so fed up I don’t know whether to scream or sob, all I am asking is for my daughter and I to be

treated seriously and a decision to be made how this happened? What it is? And how is it going to be treated? When will my daughter be able to walk properly again?

I want this matter to be seriously investigated.
I look forward to your speedy response.

Yours Sincerely

(Lilly’s mother)

JoolsToo Sat 30-Apr-05 14:16:04

bloody hell - know where you're coming from.

Christmas Eve 2004 - my mum (80) fell from a step stool taken to A & E, x-rayed, diagnosis? badly bruised - treatment? bandaged given a zimmer and told to weight bare, this we encouraged her to do. Ten days later A & E call mum 'er, we've being reviewing your x-rays, please come back and see us. New diagnosis fractured femur, smashed knee (Doctor says fracture was visible on original x-ray) major surgery, metal plate, 8 screws, 3 months in plaster. Whilst in hospital had to wait most times and once 3 hours for a bedpan. Nurses were run ragged to the ladies in the ward didn't call them when really they should have. My sister and I have also been letter writing!

I keep hearing stories like this - so it makes you question just how marvellous the NHS is.

Good luck with your complaint!

Gobbledigook Sat 30-Apr-05 14:18:48

Good luck lilsmum - this sounds like a complete nightmare and I'm glad you are doing something about it.

Hugs to Lilly xx

baka Sat 30-Apr-05 14:32:07

good grief- shocking if not surprising. i'd copy it to your councillors- thry're more use thm mp's.

redsky Sat 30-Apr-05 14:43:24

This is just ghastly lilsmum. I do hope you get a full and satisfactory reply.

Joolstoo - I have a similar story. My mum (then aged 85) came over from Aus to visit and fell in the local high street (doorstep of 'Help the Aged'). She had an appalling time in hospital (plates, screws etc for broken hip). She is not a complaining type and has lived through some very harrowing times(eg WWII) but she said being in a NHS hospital was the WORST experience of her life! Technically the surgeons did an excellent job but the nursing care was non-existant and she was discharged without any x-rays or notes to give her doctors in Aus. Thankfully she has made a great recovery and is back to dancing classes twice a week and daily swimming!

Frizbe Sat 30-Apr-05 14:43:58

What a horrible series of events you both are caught up in lilsmum, I really hope they get it sorted out soon for you.

jambo1707 Sat 30-Apr-05 15:30:55


How awful ahve you been treated, it's ridiculous that you had to experience this and poor LILY.

hope she is feeling much better, please keep us posted

donnie Sat 30-Apr-05 15:52:42

good letter : I would also add that you are forwarding copies of it to your solicitor and your local MP and that, should the need arise, you will be taking legal advice as necessary.Just to put the frighteners on them! Make sure you keep copies of everything from now on and ALWAYS get the name of whoever you deal with - insist on a surname too. Sorry to be bossy but complaining is a real struggle sometimes. Good luck , your poor little dd.

lilsmum Sat 30-Apr-05 16:38:52

[shocked] @ joolstoo and jambo stories, it is ridiculous how badly the nhs have got i certainly have no faith in them what so ever.

i have been in touch with a medical negligence lawyer just for some advice really, and will take it as far as i need to, to make them do something about it all

thanks for the replies and being interested enough to read my essay lol

foxinsocks Sat 30-Apr-05 16:45:59

well done for writing that

one of my friends is going back to nursing (after having her kids). In her interview with the hospital, they said to her 'how would you manage a ward if the only nurses who turned up for work were inexperienced, foreign, agency nurses?'

she thought it was just a theoretical question but after she got through the interview and sorted out her 'return to work course', they told her that it happens all the time and even though she hasn't worked for several years, she will quite possibly be the most senior person in the ward for a lot of the time.

It's hard to know what to think really. On one hand you have to feel sorry for those who work in the hospitals under those conditions but it's the patients in the end who suffer.

lilsmum Sat 30-Apr-05 16:50:19

foxinsox..i do feel sorry for your friend that is awful and very frightening to think about, but these nurses (that are there to take care of children - not adults) were not interested in doing their job properly, its funny really as all these talks of the hospitals being understaffed, but the ward my dd was on was overstaffed and far too much chatting and not enough graft!!

lilsmum Sat 30-Apr-05 17:00:04

do you all think i am right to complain... or that i am being petty or going a bit OTT? and should just accept that this is the NHS, my daughter is being treated of a sort?

i am that eaten up with it all, i dont know if i am being unreasonable or not.

foxinsocks Sat 30-Apr-05 17:00:37

yes and I should think in the current climate, they will take very seriously the point about not washing their hands and the hot drinks thing. When I visited the paediatric ward with my dd, the nurses and doctors were completely paranoid (as they should be) about washing their hands between patients and the no hot drink signs were EVERYWHERE. You just cannot have hot drinks on a children's ward - it's just common sense isn't it.

foxinsocks Sat 30-Apr-05 17:02:40

No lilsmum, you're not being unreasonable. If people don't complain, nothing gets better. Maybe Cheryl needs to do a training course and if you hadn't written in, they would never have known. What if they spilt a hot drink on a patient there? The managers could be wondering why MRSA is so high there and there's your letter saying they don't wash their hands. I say well done you for doing it because complaining can be so time consuming!

lilsmum Sat 30-Apr-05 17:04:04

fox, yes i know that, that bit is definately wrong, but what about the lack of diagnosis? and the fact everything points to the doctor with the canula causing the foot problem? what i mean was, i am trying to see both sides, as in this doctor was trying to get a canula in my daughters foot to treat her, and give her was she in the wrong? or am i in the wrong for kicking up a stink about it?

i dont know anymore, i think i have thought about it all too much

foxinsocks Sat 30-Apr-05 17:22:27

you're certainly not in the wrong for kicking up a stink

as for the canula in foot seems obvious to me that the injury was caused by that but I doubt you would be able to prove it. As for the rough tactics, dd had to have numerous amounts of blood taken at that age and they had to do it in her ankle because they couldn't get a line in her wrist. I thought they were going to break it because they had to twist so to get it in - I don't think it's easy. As for the lack of diagnosis, I imagine they will stick to their mantra about breaks being hard to see in that age group.

I'm not being pessimtic, but it seems to me that they have a lot of get out clauses for all of her problems

I don't think you are wrong at all and you will always know that the doctor trying to get the canula in her foot caused her problems. I doubt they will admit to that though but hopefully they will address all your concerns.

lilsmum Sat 30-Apr-05 18:06:52

thanks for listening foxinsox, and thanks for your advice i think you are probably right unfortunately...but it will prob never be proved xx

foxinsocks Sat 30-Apr-05 18:13:43

good luck and let me know how it goes. poor little lilly.

swissmiss78 Thu 05-May-05 20:12:23

Hi lilsmum

Your letter rings true with me too. My son was born 4lb's and was in the SCBU for a week, during that time we saw similar 'forceful' canula insertions & blood tests and because he was so small the skin bled and badly bruised! On one occasion my mother asked the nurse if she could hold my son as he had been crying for some time, the nurse said she would be there in a minute... my mother had to ask a further 2 times and when the nurse finally did come to pick my child up, she did it with such 'neglect' that a tube was 'pulled' from my baby.
Thankful he was only there a short while before I could take hime home!
Now 20 months old, my son is due for a hernia op. I have had to make 5 phonecalls to the hospital for an appointment and confirmation letter. Appointment was yesterday but a letter was never rec'd. Luckily I found out with another of my 'pestering' phonecalls.
Summing up - I too have lost all faith in the NHS, the way in which some staff treat our children and all the chasing that needs to be done for action!
Good letter... Let us know of the response when received. Big hug to Lily x

lilsmum Sat 07-May-05 21:16:27

swissmiss...your poor little boy

its frightening really though as these people are supposed to have been trained to deal with babies/children, i wouldnt treat a dog the way they have treated our "pride and joy"s, the thing is...if this had happened to me i wouldnt have been so angry about it all, its because its my baby, the thing i love most in the world, how dare they treat her like that!!

lilsmum Sat 07-May-05 21:21:48

i posted this letter last friday (29th april) and the lady i have been speaking to at PALS sent me a leaflet with info concerning complaints proceedure, it said in there, they have to acknowledge the letter within 2 days, still hadnt recieved anything yesterday so i rang PALS up, she said they should have sent the letter by now, so she rang them to chase it up, "apparently" the letter was in their out tray, and they promised faithfully (yeah right) that they would post it there and then, good enough i recieved it today.....just said they would investigate the matter, and would reply within 4 weeks

my point is....i even have to chase up their reply to my complaint letter...i am waiting for jeremy beadle to pop up, its THAT much of a joke!

anyway thanks for listening/reading

lilsmum Sat 07-May-05 21:42:07

bump for interested MN'ers

PuffTheMagicDragon Sat 07-May-05 21:42:15

Lilsmum, I've been following your posts about Lilly and now seeing the train of events like this altogether, I am so and appalled. Your poor baby girl and you , what a nightmare*.

course you are right to complain, and loudly.

lilsmum Sat 07-May-05 21:45:51

you know what puff, its quite bizarre to read the letter (below) to believe all that really happened, its like some surreal story someone has made up, i have got it on me now though, i am gonna see this to the end no matter how difficult it gets, i dont care.

thanks for the reply

sunnyskies Sat 07-May-05 21:50:03

Just wanted to say thinking of you and yours!hugs

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