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Terminally-ill dad was ‘left in agony’ at Airedale Hospital
The family of a cancer patient claim he had to endure 12 hours of agony in an accident and emergency department before he was given appropriate pain relief.
Peter Head, who has a terminal brain tumour, was in excruciating agony after breaking his coccyx in a fall at his home in Moorview Way, Skipton.
His wife, Trish, sat helplessly at his side as he writhed in pain throughout the night after arriving at Airedale General Hospital at 6pm on December 23.
When he was eventually seen by a doctor four hours later, she was unable to turn the 66-year-old to examine his injury properly.
About 40 minutes later his anxious daughter, Louise, telephoned the hospital to complain and soon after a doctor and a nurse were able to examine Mr Head who was then given an x-ray which revealed he had a broken coccyx.
“When I saw him he was grey and clammy - in a cold sweat and in great pain. It was horrendous to see,” said Miss Head, of Skipton.
The retired engineer then had another six hours of agony to bear because the morphine-based painkiller he was given was not strong enough, they believe.
Mrs Head, who took it in shifts with Louise to stay at his bedside, said: “About 3am I pleaded with them to do something. I was crying – beside myself with worry – I thought he was going to die and it would be the end. The nurse was distressed as well.
“I had to watch him throughout the night in agony and it was only when the day staff arrived at about 6.30am that things happened. Peter was put into a side room and seen by a matron and given a more powerful painkiller.
“A terminally ill patient shouldn’t have to go through that ordeal. It was horrendous.”
The hospital has advised the family to raise the complaint with its Patient Advice and Liaison Service.
Late on Christmas Eve Mr Head was seen by a palliative care team and arrangements made for him to be taken to Manorlands Hospice at Oxenhope, near Keighley, on Christmas Day morning.
“It was an immense relief when he got to Manorlands where they were able to control the pain and he was able to enjoy a Christmas dinner. It was fantastic to see him free of pain and I can’t praise staff at Manorlands enough for their kindness and help,” said Mrs Head.
Both are keen to stress they are not critical of individual members of staff at Airedale who were under a great deal of stress, but at the bureaucracy that meant there were not enough staff on duty to deal effectively with patients like Mr Head.
“The nurses and the doctor were very upset about what was happening. The doctor was nearly in tears,” said Miss Head.
Rob Dearden, director of nursing at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We regret that the gentleman and his family were unhappy with his care and would like the opportunity to discuss this with them and would ask them to get in touch with us to do this through our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) which can be contacted on 01535 294019/23.”