AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after an elderly man was left “bleeding to death” in the home he shared with his dementia sufferer sister.
John and Thomasina Gibson, both in their 80s, were rushed to hospital on Wednesday night after a neighbour found them bleeding from “every orifice”.
It is understood the siblings were meant to be seen by care workers four times a day.
Mr Gibson is now understood to be in a critical condition following emergency surgery and his sister is being cared for on a specialist ward.
Medical staff are said to have been left horrified and physically sick by their condition and the state of their home in Claremont Bank, Edinburgh..
The city council appointed an outside agency to provide carers for the Gibsons and has now launched an immediate probe into the case.
Neighbours said that they often had to step in to care for the elderly siblings and had been concerned about the standard of care in the past.
One resident said: “It’s dreadful, a shocking state. You have to question how this was allowed to happen.
“The carers should have been reporting the state of the house. They are a lovely old couple.
“We’ve always said something’s going to happen. We all find it very sad that it’s been going on like this.
“There were people going in there four times a day, but we still don’t know what they were doing.”
Another added: “They didn’t stay very long.”
“Bleeding for weeks”
One source said it was as if the pair had been “left to rot” despite receiving a full care package.
They said: “How is it that this can happen with four carers going in on a daily basis? Not one person has phoned social services.
“The gentleman was bleeding from everywhere, there was something coming out of every orifice.
“He had been left to bleed to death. There’s no way the carers couldn’t have noticed – he could have been bleeding for weeks.
“The couple were left in filth. When the doctor was called in he went daft at the state of the house. The council clearly doesn’t know what’s going on.”
The council has refused to name the company in charge of supplying carers but it is understood they are allowed to continue working.
Carers appointed by the council have no powers of entry and those receiving care can refuse help if they wish.
Age Scotland described what happened to the Gibsons as “appalling”.
A spokesman said: “We would urge the council to ensure its investigation is thorough and that lessons are learned.
“At the very least there appears to have been a breakdown in communications between the care agency and the council.
“If it turns out that the Gibsons were regularly refusing entry to carers, the investigation needs to consider whether there was a lack of continuity in visiting care staff.
“If it’s a different carer coming every day this can be unsettling for older people, and indeed distressing for those with dementia.”
It is thought Mr Gibson could be “difficult” with carers at times.
Alan Ferrier, who has been a neighbour of the Gibsons, known as Iain and Bunty, for more than 30 years, said: “On the morning they got taken away in the hospital a carer managed to get in.
“She came back downstairs and said she had to call someone because Iain was lying up in bed covered in blood.
“Apparently it was all over the sheets and the floor – I don’t know what happened to Bunty during this.
“We then said to the woman, shouldn’t you call an ambulance?’ She said no, she had to call her work. She got in her car and drove away.
“It’s ridiculous – we don’t look after our elderly properly.”
Mr Ferrier admitted the brother and sister could be difficult.
He said: “When the council brought in carers Iain wouldn’t let them in sometimes.
“They didn’t want help – they wanted peace and quiet and to just get on with things.
“We all tried to help, we’re all good friends, and they didn’t even let us help.
“But I don’t suppose you can help someone who doesn’t want it.”
He added: “Iain and Bunty have been together all their days.
“They inherited the house from their parents and have lived in it ever since – a long time considering that’s them in their 80s.
“Iain had a stroke about four or five years ago and hadn’t been keeping well since.
“His sister was fragile too, which is weird because Bunty and her brother would always get their best gear on and hit the town for their coffees and shopping.”
He said Iain had worked as an engineer in the merchant navy and his sister owned a newsagents in the city’sDundas Street.
Agencies have a duty to raise issues with officials if they have concerns about people they look after, but in this case it appears no concerns were raised.
Senior Tory MSP John Lamont said: “It would appear something has gone badly wrong here and I’m glad the council has launched an investigation.
“We rely on home carers not only to carry out care duties, but to flag up any other concerns they may have about the circumstances of vulnerable people.”
A council spokesman said: “As soon as we became aware of the incident we immediately launched an investigation, which is in its early stages.”