Family's horror after finding elderly relative "caked" in blood while in St George’s Hospital's care
5:00am Thursday 25th October 2012 in News
The family of a dementia patient admitted to hospital with a stomach bug are furious after finding her caked in blood from injuries sustained during her stay.
Rita A’court, of Ash Road, Sutton, was admitted to St George’s Hospital, on Saturday, October 6, after “projectile vomiting” at an Alzheimer’s coffee morning in Epsom.
Not until the the next day were her family informed the 66-year-old had fallen and hurt her arm, but describe arriving to find her dripping with blood.
Julia Bruce, Mrs A’court’s sister, said: “Rita’s daughter Kimberley got a call from the hospital saying she’d had a fall and hurt her arm.
“They told her ‘not to worry’ because she only needed one stitch. But when Kimberley and her brother Ricky got to St George’s they found her arm was dripping with blood.
“Then they found another huge cut on her ear, which had split open, and her hair was caked with more blood.
“Neither had been stitched and the cuts had not even been treated. Kimberley called me and was panicking and screaming down the phone.”
Mrs A’court’s children checked her for more injuries and found huge bruises on her hip and thigh with more on her leg, calf and forearms and claimed hospital staff had not noticed the deep cut on her ear or the patchwork of bruises on her body.
The family believed the hospital either downplayed Mrs A’court’s injuries or, even worse, failed to notice that a vulnerable patient with mental health problems sustained a serious head injury and are demanding a full inquiry.
Mrs Bruce added: “It’s horrific to think that you send a loved one to a hospital and you find them covered in injuries.
“The worst thing though is that most of them hadn’t been noticed. The cuts weren’t sewn up until the Sunday night, the one on her arm eventually needed at least four stitches.
“We are very upset and angry, but feel we have to do something or it will be swept under the carpet, and we don’t want this to happen to someone else.”
A spokesman for St George’s confirmed that an internal investigation was underway.
He said: “We are very sorry about the distress Mrs A’court suffered following a fall.
“Mrs A’court’s injuries were assessed by a senior nurse and reviewed by a doctor immediately but unfortunately there was a delay in her stitches being administered.
“The head of nursing for acute medicine apologised to the patient and her family at the hospital in person at the earliest opportunity.”
After watching their relative’s health and state of mind deteriorate for four days Mrs A’court’s family felt they had no option but to remove her from the hospital.
She has since been recuperating at home but is so traumatised, according to her sister, she does not want to leave the house.
Mrs Bruce said: “She used to be nimble and really sociable. Now she struggles to walk and just wants to stay indoors.”