NHS elderly care: sole carer coughing blood sent home

NHS elderly care: sole carer coughing blood sent home

Hundreds of Daily Telegraph readers have contacted the newspaper, offering examples of just how badly the NHS is failing elderly people. Here is one:

 By Andy Bloxham 8:00AM GMT 16 Feb 2011

Retired accountant John Williams, 80, is the sole carer for his wife Grace, 71, who suffers from Alzheimer’s.

Last Saturday, Mr Williams, a former football referee and cricket umpire, began coughing up blood and mucus and was taken to West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen.

He was given an X-ray which showed “shadows” on his lungs but was told to wait overnight to be seen by a specialist.

By this time, Mr Williams had developed constipation which became increasingly uncomfortable. When, at around 4am on Sunday he requested a suppository, it did not arrive until around 11am, seven hours later.

The specialist, who Mr Williams said claimed to have already seen 50 patients during the weekend, told him he needed further tests but would have to wait three weeks, and he was discharged

Fighting back tears, Mr Williams told the Daily Telegraph: “I’m 80 years old and I’m coughing up blood every day. It’s getting worse not better. I was told to wait three weeks but I might not last three weeks.

“I’m going to be dead before long. Then my wife won’t have anybody to look after her.

“I’m the only person she’s got. I sort out all her pills. If I’m not there, she gets confused and takes the wrong ones. Last time, she ended up in hospital.

“I just feel that I’m dying and no one cares. I’m sure I’ve got pneumonia – I’ve had it before.

“Not everyone’s bad at the hospital: some of the girls are nice but you ask some of them to do something and they just walk away.

“I don’t want to die – I just want to be treated.”

No one from Carmarthenshire NHS Trust, which runs the West Wales hospital, was available for comment.