Health board says sorry for 'unacceptable' care at Royal Gwent

9:20am Thursday 16th January 2014

A FAMILY has been given an apology and a health board is making changes after admitting that a woman received unacceptable treatment at the Royal Gwent Hospital.

The family of Yvonne Skidmore, 65, of Bryn Road, Cefn Fforest, said she was left to wet herself and was denied help from nurses who said she was “too fat” while she was in hospital in Newport.

Her granddaughter, Amanda Wood, said she has been left to seek apologies and answers as to how this happened.

Fearing Mrs Skidmore’s health had deteriorated due to poor care, the family complained to the Public Ombudsman. Following an investigation, the Ombudsman concluded the difficulties reported by the family did not contribute to her death.

The health board, however, has since apologised to the family, saying the described attitude of some nursing staff was unacceptable.

On November 5, 2011, Mrs Skidmore was taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital with breathing problems.

She had kidney failure, fluid around the heart and lungs and carbon dioxide poisoning.

Over the next week she improved and occupational health were arranging home care ahead of her discharge.

Two weeks later Ms Skidmore was moved to another part of the ward and it was from here, Ms Wood says, things got worse.

“I went down there and I could see my nan was upset and she told me the nurse had told her she was too fat to move and she would have to move herself,” she said.

Ms Wood said she endedup moving her grandmother, which was difficult due to her being on an air-bed.

“Every time we went there, the air-bed was flat.”

On November 21, 2011, Ms Wood was visiting again.

She said: “She was lying in a soaking-wet bed. She was in a terrible state.”

Ms Wood said a patient in the bed opposite told her that her grandmother had fallen out of bed the night before after pressing the buzzer ten times because she needed the toilet. After no-one came, she tried getting out of bed and fell.

On November 22, 2011, a nurse called the family to gather at the hospital as soon as possible. By 12.30pm Mrs Skidmore had died.

The health board said its investigation had found no evidence to suggest Mrs Skidmore was treated differently because of her size, but did not refute the other complaints made by the family, and apologised on behalf of its staff.

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