Answers demanded as dad dies hours after leaving hospital
By Kirsty Topping
THE FAMILY of an elderly man who collapsed and died just hours after leaving hospital has demanded answers from health officials.
Harry Waugh was given the all-clear to return to his home by doctors, only to be rushed back by ambulance two hours later.
His family say doctors at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary should not have released him as he was vomiting blood and “off his head” on painkillers.
Mr Waugh died a day later.
His daughter Wendy Knox is now demanding to know why doctors let her dad leave the hospital and says the standard of treatment he received in the hospital’s ward 106 was “disgraceful”.
She says the frail 78-year-old was left unable to communicate with staff after nurses lost his hearing aid and that emergency cords and water were left out of his reach.
She also claims her dad was left lying in a pool of his own vomit.
The former bus driver was first admitted to hospital in August, when his family claims he was relatively healthy.
The asthmatic pensioner had struggled with a chest infection and was experiencing difficulties with his colostomy bag.
But soon after admission they say his health went down hill rapidly.
NHS Lothian has promised to fully investigate Wendy’s claims.
Wendy now plans on submitting a formal complaint to the health board and is demanding an apology and an explanation as to why her father was sent home.
She said: “I had a sense of dread about the whole thing. I feel like if he’d gone to the Western General to begin with, or if he hadn’t been sent home early, he may still be alive. But it’s not just that, it is the way he was treated.
“Even when he was sent home nurses told us they didn’t think he was ready to go and didn’t want a situation where he’d be discharged then have to come back through accident and emergency hours later.”
However after just a few hours in his home, Wendy says that’s exactly what happened.
She said: “He went straight upstairs to bed then was in so much pain he said he had to go back to hospital
“He waited of three hours on A&E, then eventually got back to ward 106. I went to see him the following evening and couldn’t believe what I saw.
“He was covered in sick, he’d even been sick inside a pillow case because he didn’t want to mess up the floor. All I kept hearing was how the staff were too busy.
“After I left I kept phoning the hospital to see how he was. Something inside me told me I wasn’t going to see him alive again. Then at 6am the next morning I go a call to say he had passed away.”
Wendy, who is still awaiting postmortem results, attended her father’s funeral on Monday.
She said: “We just want an apology. It was horrible for him to have to spend his final hours in distress.”
Dr Simon Mackenzie, divisional medical director for NHS Lothian, said: “I would like to express my condolences.
“NHS Lothian takes all complaints very seriously. We have not yet received any contact from the family and would urge them to get in touch with us.
“We will carry out a prompt and full investigation.”
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