THE family of back from the dead grandmother Lorna Baillie have issued a formal complaint to the hospital that treated her after she suffered a massive heart attack.
The 49-year-old astonished her family and doctors by coming back to life 45 minutes after medics declared her “technically dead” and withdrew treatment.
Now the family have lodged a complaint to Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary in the hope they receive some much-needed answers.
Mrs Baillie continues to make a remarkable recovery after being pronounced dead last month.
The former auxiliary nurse, from Prestonpans, East Lothian, collapsed at home on February 10.
Paramedics and doctors battled to save her for three hours before telling the family all hope was gone and they should say their final goodbyes.
The grief-stricken family watched in amazement as the colour began to creep back into Lorna’s face, her eyes opened and she squeezed her eldest daughter’s hand.
A nurse reassured the family that these were the normal after-effects of medical treatment but a doctor was eventually called and found a pulse.
The family made an official complaint to the hospital last Tuesday and said they hoped they would finally receive some answers.
In an emotionally charged letter, Lorna’s eldest daughter Leanne Porteous, 31, accused the hospital of causing the family a “huge amount of stress and distress”.
She wrote: “When the doctor came to inform us that my mum had died we were told that ‘It was not viable to save Lorna,’ which haunts us everyday.
“When our family sat with my mum’s body we were informed that her lungs were only artificially moving due to the amount of adrenalin, CPR and shocks that she had received. I asked if it was normal that my mother was “squeezing my hand, moving her head, lifting her arm and crying?
“The nurse wasn’t doing anything bar standing with a label with my mums details on it obviously waiting on her lungs to stop so she could ‘deal’ with her body. This in itself is extremely distressing.
“The nurse wasn’t willing to listen to us telling her that my mum was showing signs of life, it wasn’t until we demanded a doctor that she listened.
“Now we are left with the fact that we could have just walked away after giving my mum a kiss and saying our goodbyes and may never have known she would come back to life.
“As a consequence of these actions, my mum may have endured more brain damage, which we now have to live with for the rest of our lives.”
At a meeting with senior medics last week, the family were told that Lorna’s case was a “rarity” and that nurses in the hospital would be receiving extra training.
Leanne said: “Telling us that she is a ‘rarity’ is not a good enough explanation. We are looking for proper answers. If my mum comes back from all of this and regains complete normality then we will have to talk to her and tell her what happened.
“I feel like writing the letter has let me get a lot of my chest. I do have a lot of anger towards the staff and it felt therapeutic to put in the complaint.”
Margaret Watt, Chairwoman of Scotland Patient Association, said it was a “frightening” situation for the family to deal with.
She said: “I think they need massive training at the hospital. If they hadn’t listened to the family then she could have been taken to the morgue, it really doesn’t bear thinking about it.
“It was a wholly inappropriate situation, and very, very serious.
Where is the training and who dealt with it?
“This is a living nightmare for the family and they will all need counselling. I hope that the hospital are taking this seriously and that proper training is given to all the staff.
A spokeswoman from NHS Lothian confirmed that a letter of complaint had been received from Leanne Baillie.
Dr David Farquharson, Medical Director, NHS Lothian, said: “I can confirm we have received a formal complaint from Mrs Baillie’s family surrounding her care in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
“We will investigate fully and report back to the family. It would be inappropriate to comment further until that process is complete.”