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Senior’s ‘disgusting’ treatment sparks official complaint

Beds in the emergency room of the acute care wing of King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (File photograph)

Hospital staff “did not care” about a 76-year-old man who was left waiting for an inpatient bed for more than two days, his wife has said in an official letter of complaint that branded his experience “disgusting”.

The woman, who does not want to be named to protect the couple’s privacy, said she considers her comments to be “constructive criticism” necessary to try and improve King Edward VII Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department.

The senior, who has had Parkinson’s disease for 26 years, was taken to the ED suffering a fever and a bad cough and had to wait 53 hours for an hospital bed.

In the letter, the man’s wife states: “We arrived at the hospital at 1pm Friday — the service in emergency was non-existent. I had to ask someone at 7.30pm to change his diaper.

“A doctor came in late but didn’t say much. In fact, there was no consistency in care from start to finish.

“Saturday he was still in ER … no news from a doctor.

“Sunday, I arrived at 10am. My husband’s breakfast was on the table, stone cold. He hasn’t fed himself for five years, but your Emergency Room staff didn’t care.

“A doctor came in later to tell me what was wrong with my husband, pneumonia — three days?

“I had had enough, so I called someone to help me find a bed. He was moved at 6pm on Sunday to a ward.

“Monday, he developed a large bedsore. In five years of being bedridden, he has never had a bedsore, disgusting.

“He wasn’t improving in the hospital. He is improving at home.

“I said this was constructive criticism, as we all know that the hospital service has been going downhill for years and nothing is ever done about it.

“This should not be a political problem, but sadly it is. This hospital is for all Bermudians and visiting guests, we all gain by it being well run.

“A great deal of money is poured into the hospital, things should be different.

“I hope that if things were more transparent we could have the hospital we had 50 years ago.

“For every problem, there is a solution. We should be looking for solutions not giving the people of Bermuda excuses.”

The Bermuda Hospitals Board said that it could not discuss the matter.

A spokeswoman said: “Bermuda Hospitals Board has a strict confidentiality policy and as such is unable to comment on individual cases.

“We appreciate the family and patient taking time to make an official complaint so we can work with them directly to understand fully what happened and make improvements.”

The BHB has said that “bed-blocking” is a major problem, and previously urged the family to make a formal complaint.

The Royal Gazette revealed that on one day last month people admitted to the ED had to wait 33 hours on average for a bed.

The BHB warned in March that it will struggle to maintain its facilities or to pay a basic cost-of-living increase to its staff because government funding is not keeping up with medical inflation.

The BHB, which is $16 million short of the funds promised to it by the Government in 2019, said that even if the Government made good on the shortfall, failures to increase the spending cap meant that it had received just a single 1 per cent increase in five years.

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Published May 30, 2023 at 7:56 am (Updated May 30, 2023 at 10:56 am)

Senior’s ‘disgusting’ treatment sparks official complaint

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