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Hospital chiefs accused of not caring about senior’s complaint

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

The wife of a 76-year-old-man suffering from Parkinson’s disease and pneumonia who was left waiting more than two days for a hospital bed has accused health chiefs earning “big bucks” of passing the buck on hospital failures.

The woman, who does not want to be named to protect the couple’s privacy, said the Bermuda Hospitals Board was “washing their hands” of the incident.

The BHB promised to conclude an investigation into the incident by the end of June, but the woman said she had not been contacted until mid-July, and then not given the findings of the probe.

This came after the couple’s hand-delivered letter of complaint in May was not responded to for two weeks.

After being alerted to the situation by The Royal Gazette, the BHB apologised and said that it would change its procedures. It promised to conclude the full investigation into the incident by the end of June.

The board said the woman had been contacted more than once by senior staff since June 30 to arrange a meeting either in person or remotely to discuss their inquiry into the matter.

While waiting 53 hours in the emergency department for an acute bed, the senior developed a large bedsore, while a meal was left next to him that he was unable to reach and staff had to be asked to change his diaper, according to his wife.

She told The Royal Gazette: “The hospital management just don’t care about us or what happened.

“They have washed their hands of us.

“They said the report would be done by the end of June.”

She said the only contact was from a public relations representative to schedule a meeting.

“I’ve been sick, so it is not entirely their fault, but it is just a shabby way to treat people.

“I don’t think they were ever interested in our complaint. They just let it slide.”

She was incensed that management earning “big bucks” would give the job to a communications person.

“It’s management Bermuda-style — take the big bucks then push the problem on to somebody junior.

“If they actually cared about what we went through, they would have done something two months ago.

“They said the report would be done in June. Why haven’t I been sent the findings?”

A spokeswoman for the BHB said the woman had been contacted by the patient relations manager and the chief of nursing regarding the situation.

She told The Royal Gazette: “BHB completed the internal part of the investigation based on the written complaint by the end of June.

“Our patient relations manager, who manages all complaints for BHB, contacted the individual on June 30, extending an invitation to a meeting so we could bring the complaint to resolution.

“Our chief of nursing and patient relations and patient relations manager have followed up since 30 June to arrange the meeting with the complainant, either in person or remotely, but have not been able to finalise a meeting time as of yet.”

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.

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Published August 12, 2023 at 7:48 am (Updated August 12, 2023 at 7:45 am)

Hospital chiefs accused of not caring about senior’s complaint

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