Our Wonderful National health Service

As some of you are already aware, I lost my Dad 2 weeks ago today. Of course this is very sad and we will all miss a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. But there is more...... you see Dad died before his time and that was solely due to neglect and lack of nursing care. Pull your chair up, and I will tell you the story.
Dad had stones forming in his bile duct, he had several years previously had his gall bladder removed, and I am led to believe it is fairly common for stones to then form in the bile duct. Dad had had a couple of attacks from these stones over the years and had ended up in hospital. They had attempted to remove the stones under local anasthetic, but had not been successful because Dad had a reaction to the local anasthetic and became distressed and somewhat aggressive, pulling out all tubes etc. It was decided that they should be removed under general anasthetic. Not a major operation, but nevertheless an anasthetic can be dangerous at 84 years of age. Now I should tell you a little bit about my Dad, he was a mild mannered man, quiet and gentle, I had rarely heard him swear, when we were kids if you heard him say the word 'bloody' you knew he was very very angry and you were in for trouble. He was very respectful, and would do unto others as he would expect to be done to him. When he went into hospital there was no sign of any dementia, he was sometimes forgetful, and could on occasion get a little confused, but no more than many 84 year olds.
Well, he had the pre op examination and was declared fit for surgery and he went into hospital on 13th December to have the operation on 14th. No mention was made by the consultant of any particular risk to Dad in having the surgery.When he came around from the anasthetic he was distressed disoriented and aggressive, he pulled out tubes, and to those who knew and loved him this behavious was totally out of character and frightening. He was assigned a nursing assistant to sit with him for 24 hours a day (this person left each time visitors arrived). They gave Dad a 'seditive' in an attemt to calm him down. After a week or so, I asked what this seditive was and was told it was called Halopelridol. I investigated this drug and discovered that it was not a mild seditive at all, but a powerful antiphyscotic drug, used for the treatment of schizophrenia etc. Dad was suffering at this time from confusion, violent agression, loss of appetite (he went into hospital weighing 11stone 6. When he died he weighed 8stone 7) loss of bladder control & hallucinations, and the most awful swearing,words I never realised he knew: all known side effects of Haloperidol I spoke to my family about my findings and then spoke to his doctors saying that we as a family wanted him taking off this drug immediately, they did this and Dads mental state improved slightly. I also discovered that a person of Dad's age has up to a 70% chance of developing post operative delirium ( a fact that had never been mentioned). At some time a few weeks after surgery we discovered, in a general conversation with a junior doctor, that Dad had suffered a heart attack during the surgery, no one had mentioned this to us before. Dad was visited twice daily by my mum and other members of the family, He was rarely able to hold anything like a normal conversation, but one day about 4 weeks after surgery he managed to relay to me that his leg was hurting. I rolled up his trouser leg (he was still managing to wash and dress himself at this stage so was fully dressed). I was horrified, the post surgical stockings that he was still wearing on his left leg had rolled down and were cutting into the flesh, almost to the bone, obviously cutting off circulation to his foot. I remember thinking at this stage, oh my god he is going to lose his foot. I ran to fetch a nurse, who fetched the sister and the stockings were immediately removed. It was discovered that they had been in place for 4 weeks, since the op, had not been removed once and therefore Dads feet had not been washed or cared for. Dads feet, especially the left one were in a terrible state, and the mark where the stocking had cut in was still visible some 5 weeks later when he died. Dad had developed gangrene and we were told after a week or so that amputation was inevitable, and that his left leg would be removed above the knee. Dad was very weak by this stage and it was fairly obvious that he was not strong enough to survive the surgery. We were obviously horrified and very distressed. When we spoke to the consultant we were told that he was dying and had approx 2 weeks left. If he had the surgery the most we could hope for was 2 months. Of course the surgery was not an option. We were told that the pain he would suffer would be most acute, but it would be handled by drugs ie morphine.
Now we get to his death, on the Friday prior to his death he was quite obviously in a lot of pain and the morphine was started. It had to be agreed with the consultant that he should be given the box (dont know what its called) that administors morphine intravenously, and as the consultant was not available that day, he would begin with morphine injections. he was allowed to have an injection every 2 hours. As it was now the weekend and no one was working he could not have the 'box' fitted until Monday. From Friday until Monday I stayed with my dad all night alone. The morphine injections were taking sometimes an hour to take effect, sometimes not working at all. My poor Dad was climbing the walls in agony, I was begging the nurses to give him more. I am ashamed to say that at one stage I considered picking up the pillow and smothering him. At 3am on the Monday morning they told me the could not give him any further morphine without a doctor seeing him, and that they would call him out (he never came). At 5am I made the call to my mum and my brother and sisters, with the nurse in charges agreement, and told them that they should come. They came, the morphine box was fitted at 11am and Dads last 2 hours on this earth were peaceful. He had been in continual agony for at least 2 days prior to this. He died at 1.10pm on 20th February with his wife and all 6 of his children around him.
Our hearts are broken, not because he passed away, he was 84 years old and it was something that we knew was going to come before many more years, but because he went into hospital for a small operation, and was brought out dead, having suffered in the most terrible way prior, because he had the misfortune to die over the weekend, anyone in his situation on weekdays would have received the continual morphine and could have passed quietly, painfree and with dignity. I am crying now, after all my dad has done for me over nearly 60 years, I couldnt save him from this.
RIP Dad...until we meet again xxx

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Published in Senior Health


  1. laura

    You sincerely have my prayers and thoughts and pray this wrong in some obscure way can be at least some way righted.
    I know it cant bring back your dad, but if it can prevent someone else from suffering then I wish you the best!
    Laura xxx

  2. macathy

    Oh annie i am so sorry for your loss,god bless you all.This should never have happened in this day and age .i am sorry it has . hugs

  3. debz

    Oh Annie,

    Firstly let me offer my prayers and love to you…..(x)

    I can only imagine how you must have felt whilst writing the experience you endured, it bought tears to me, reading what you did it appears you did everything you could for your Dad……

    Annie, if you need somone to talk to please pm me and as we live pretty close if you want to meet up at sometime that’d be lovely.

    Was this at a local Hospital? I’m not thread jacking Annie but today my step sister is in Addenbrooks for a 8 hour op. she is in theatre right now having part of the pancreas, bile duct, and all of the duodenum removed today she is only 6 stone and we have said she may not be strong enough but they say she will be ok…….we shall hear at about 5.00pm…

    I will be thinking of you Annie and pray your able to feel some normality soon……gosh I just can’t imagine…….

    ((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Love to you and your family Annie))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))


  4. jcb1

    annie that story is horrific. how awful for your dad. you, your mum and the rest of your family to have go through all of that. thoughts and prayers are sent to you and your family.

  5. katelin

    Oh, annie…I am so sad for you…so painful for you, still. You’re such a lovely, sweet person, I am so sorry that you had to endure this.

  6. morvenna

    Annie I am not even going to comment on the above…it says it all….just sooo sorry that your dad and the family have these awful memories…I am thinking of you…take care

  7. davidrv

    I am sorry for your loss.

    I have had my gall bladder removed at 22 years old, my older daughter had hers removed when she was 16. Thank you for the information on the stones as I was not aware of this.
    Although we live in different countries, the problem seems similar; very little compassion for the person from those who can make a difference, the doctors.

  8. ladybird

    Annie, such a sad story but I’m pleased you finally managed to write it.
    It’s good to write things down, makes it clearer in your mind and I hope it has helped in some way.
    My thoughts are with you.
    Hugs LB xxxx

  9. skippy

    Dear Annie I cried along with you reading your story. My heart felt empathy to you and your family. Your dear Dad is at peace now and I hope in time the pain will ease a little for you all and some good comes out of your terrible experience.

    Our dear mate whips has put a lovely song for you in the group loving this life. I do hope you have a listen sometime when you are ready.

    You are in my heart and thoughts, love skippy xxxxx

  10. msscooter

    So sorry to hear about your dad….My mom passed away 2 years ago today but my experience with the people that took care of her was totally opposite from yours…..they were all fantastic and treated her with love and kindness even though we were not expecting her to make it through the night….they also made sure my husband and i were as comfortable as possible….its so difficult to lose a parent under any circumstances but it would be even more unbearable knowing that they werent taken care of the way they should have been….

  11. jojo

    Dear Annie,

    I’ve never had the pleasure of chatting with you, but when I read your story, tears welled up in my eyes. Annie, there has to be accounting for the abysmal neglect bordering on criminal negligence inflicted on your Dad. There is absolutely no excuse for it, and if it were me, I’d insist on a general inquiry into it and those responsible for it be held accountable. I have never heard of a worse case of negligence in all my life.

    My heart goes out to you along with healing thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

  12. foreveryoung2

    Dear Annie – I too cried reading your blog as a similar situation happened to my mother – she died in agony with hospital staff refusing to give her more morphine until they got permission from her public guardian, despite pleadings from members of her family. She was 84. She was appointed a public guardian because horrible members of my family voted against me being her guardian because I lived in another state even though I was the eldest child and her next-of-kin. I travelled interstate several times to be with my mother and could also be reached by phone. The whole time my mother was in hospital and then in a nursing home was a terrible time for her with neglect in several areas. To tell the whole story would take too long. I did, and so did my beautiful niece, wrote and complained, but nothing was ever done. My heart bleeds for you Annie, as I feel your pain, and I will never speak to those members of my family again. My niece and I have a memorial site online which I go to everyday to speak to my mother (crying more now) and tell her how much I love her and how sorry I am. She has been gone nearly 5 years. I am here for you any time Annie xoxoxoxox

  13. friendlya Post author

    Thank you to all m very good friends, for your understanding and kind words. It does much to ease this horrific pain I am feeling. I know Dad is now at peace in a better place where there is no such thing as pain. This gives me great comfort, though I know I will not see my darling Dad again until I to reach this wonderful place when we will be reunited, A complaint about the treatment has already been registered against the NHS and an inquiry will take place. I have a horrible feeling that they will wriggle out of this. Whilst we cannot bring Dad back, nor right the terrible wrong that has been done to him, all these cases must be brought into the public eye in the hope that we can prevent the same happening to some other poor person. Dad was very much loved, and all the time had his family to fight for him, there are many poor souls who are alone in this world, and it scares me most terribly to start to think what happens to them. If we can prevent some of them from going through what dad went through, then his death will not have been in vain.
    Once again, thank you all. Love Annie xxxx