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 Care Campaign For The Vulnerable

Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is learning of the pressures faced by conscientious led Care Providers striving to offer a caring and safe environment to both service users and staff. Safety monitoring is proving to be a invaluable care assist tool - bringing a more open and transparent culture into care homes as well as saving valuable resources within the care home sector and the NHS

Case Studies

My father had a DNR placed on him in hospital within 24 hours and his family were not consulted

Added on 30th June 2020

My name is Christabel and my father's name was William. He was aged 81 years old when he died and lived in Edmonton for 47 years. My father was admitted into a London hospital on Friday 3rd of April suffering from the effects of a urine infection. The ambulance was called by a friend of my father’s some time late Thursday 2nd April 2020 but the ambulance didn’t arrive until 7.30am Friday 3rd April. My brother called and said the ambulance was at the house and asked me to speak to the paramedic.

I spoke with the paramedic and he said my dad was taki cardiac and confused. He said he would take him to the hospital to get checked over. I explained my dad was being treated for a urine infection and was starting a course of antibiotics. I was reluctant for dad to go to the hospital without me and thought I could meet him there but I was advised that it wasn’t a good idea as the Coronavirus was active in the hospital and I and others would be at risk. I didn’t know that would be the last time I would see my dad again.

I spoke to a A&E doctor who informed me that my father had a chest x-ray and was tested for the virus and said he would be admitted and would receive intravenous antibiotics for the urine infection and the small chest infection they saw on the x-ray and give him some oxygen. I spoke with my dad on his mobile phone and he was so upset saying he wanted me to come and take him home. He was confused and I was so hurt as I’d never let my dad down before. I took him to all his appointments , hospital, GP, opticians, you name it, I was his everything and he was mine. It broke my heart not to be able to get to him and I know it broke his heart too. My dad was taken to a ward then finally to another ward where he would die just seven days later.

Saturday 4th April, I spoke to my Dad several times on his phone and he was still confused and kept asking would I come and take him home. I asked staff if I could come and visit and was told no because the hospital was on lock down and so I told my dad that he needed to stay over night for treatment and he was upset. He was still confused and a nurse told me even though my dad was confused when she asked him if he had any children he said yes he has a daughter called Christabel. I cried. I called the ward constantly to the point where the staff recognised my voice and they’d say Mr Allen is stable he is comfortable or he was sleeping. I spoke to my dad 11pm that night for five minutes and that would be the last time I spoke to him. In the early hours of Sunday 5th of April approximately 2.30am I received from a nurse who was looking after my dad saying my dad had a fall and they were going to get an emergency doctor to check him over. I called all through the night and was told my dad was stable and comfortable and he was sleeping.

Sunday 5th April around 7.30 I called my dad's mobile phone and to my surprise it was going straight to answering machine. I spoke to several nurses who said they would charge his phone. When I asked about my Dad's well being they all said the same thing - my father was comfortable and he is stable. Late into the afternoon I got a call from a junior consultant informing me of the DNR order they'd put on dad the day before. I was so upset I asked her why they would do such a thing without my consent. Dad was confused and they had no right to do this. I asked when they had done this and she said it was placed on dad the Saturday 24 hours previous.

I was scared, upset and angry. I told her to get the DNR removed as I didn’t give my consent and no one asked me what I thought as my dad was in no condition to make those decisions. She went away and came back an hour later telling me my request for the DNR to be removed was refused. When I asked why she told me it was because my dad was 81 years old and had underlying health issues and tested positive for coronavirus. I was horrified as I didn’t know that could happen. How could they refuse my requests to remove a DNR from my father’s files? I didn’t agree and my dad would not of asked for that as we discussed it and we didn't want it. Then I was told it was out of my hands and I had no say.

Monday the 6th I complained to a nurse about the DNR. He said he would write my concerns on my father's notes as ‘that wasn’t suppose to happen’. It was said the consultants must inform the next of kin. Dad had family that they should have consulted with. Later that evening I got a call from the registrar who said my dad was poorly and didn’t have long to live and they expected him to die that night. I begged for a video call and was called by the Junior consultant I spoke with on the Sunday. We had the video call during which she could not wake my dad as he was heavily sedated. I was mortified seeing my dad like that and caused me a great deal of trauma and distress. I couldn’t understand what was happening. I wondered if that he had fallen over and hurt himself and nobody was telling me that he had a serious fall. I called him ... I shouted at him to answer me and he didn't. The consultant was shaking him calling out to him. He didn’t move or open his eyes but just lay there. I felt sick and my stomach. Everything was spinning. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. She asked me if my father was hard of hearing, I said no, my dad had perfect hearing. My dad went in with a urine infection and now he couldn’t talk, he couldn't move, he couldn’t do anything.

''I was scared and confused... no one explained to me what 'comfort care'' meant

Tuesday 7th April after being up all night sick with worry calling the ward every 20minutes, I spoke to a nurse first thing. I asked how my dad was and he said he was stable and comfortable. I asked if I could have another video call as I was desperate to see him again. The doctor said he was responsive but wasn’t speaking and I was encouraged. . At least he could hear me and would know I didn’t abandon him. That’s when he told me dad was in palliative care and when they finished with dad I should be able to get a video call. I asked what was pallative ? Then the nurse startled me. He said dad was on end of life care. To my shock and horror I couldn’t believe it. The nurse said he would write in dads notes my concerns and he would get a doctor to call me. I had another video call where dad was responsive but I couldn't hear what he was trying to say. It was devastating he was clearly trying hard to communicate with me but he was so drugged up it was hard. I called my brother and sister so they could see him.

''I noticed the palliative care nurse had no PPE on and I queried it. I said I want to visit my dad and was told no because of the risk of infection.''

• Wednesday 8th April after calling the hospital all I was being told dad was comfortable and stable I still could get him on his mobile phone. I got a call late afternoon from the registrar again. She started off by saying “I understand you have a issue with Mr Allen being in palliative care! She insisted that she had told me on the Monday by telling me dad was on “comfort care”. She tried to tell me that she had informed me he was on comfort care and we went back and forth debating why dad was on end if life care for thirty minutes - in this time I discovered my father wasn’t fed anything nor given water or fluids and his blood pressure meds, diabetes meds, and the antibiotics for his urine infection weren't given to him since the Monday. Instead my father was on morphine and midazolam. She insisted that she would get the senior consultant to call me. He never did. I called the hospital consistently and still the staff said dad was comfortable and stable.

''I called throughtout the day and no one explained anything only that he was settled and comfortable... he died soon after. No one saw fit to involve his family.''

• Thursday 9th April I got a call not from the senior consultant as promised but from the palliative care consultant. We had a long conversation around dad and the so called care he was receiving and why he was put on palliative care. It made no sense to me and I was still concerned as to why no one had informed me that he would be on this kind of care even though I had called several times a day from the time he was admitted into the hospital no one saw fit to involve me. Forty minutes after having the conversation I asked if I could see my dad again and it was said okay. I saw my dad and was devastated My beloved father was so thin. He was so slim in the face you could see had lost a lot of weight. My dad died the next morning. I asked her if they could reverse the decision she said no but they would review my dad. I asked her to call me before my dad died as I didn’t want a phone call in the middle of the night informing me that dad was dead. She said she would put it on the notes and she did.

• 10th April Approximately 2:45am I got that dreadful call telling me my dad didn’t have long left as his pulse was very weak and she was calling me as I requested. I asked her if I could see my dad and she said yes. She called me back about five minutes later and took me on video to the ward cubicle where my dad was laying. I was with him for about fiftenn minutes I told him how much I loved him and how much I would miss him. I told him how sorry I was that I wasn’t there with him when he needed me the most. I asked him to forgive me and told him that I would never forget him and he’ll always be with me. I told him that the children would miss him also and how much they love him and how much his grandchildren would miss him. My heart was broken. . After the video call she left and called me back approximately 6:00 am on Good Friday morning and told me my beloved father had passed away at 5.35am. I got to see him again. My father was failed by this hospital by not notifying his family regarding the DNR and we believe they did not treat his underlying health conditions because of his age.

I believe he was failed.


Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is troubled by this daughter's distressing acccount of her late father's short stay at a NHS hospital before his sad passing. The family are rightly upset that a 'do not resuscitate' (DNR) was placed in his medical notes without any member of his family being consulted. Everyone wants what is best for their loved one when in hospital and the pressures NHS Trusts, doctors and nurses are facing during Coronavirus is immense and they all do a sterling job.

But we should remember that he was a doting dad, granddad and part of a family very much loved and the family say he walked into A and E seemingly fit other than a UTI. The worrying aspect of this family's experience is the similar accounts coming through to CCFTV where a DNR was placed on elderly loved ones without family being advised or consulted. Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is supporting these families and working with the NHS Trusts to raise a complaint on behalf of the loved ones who desire answers.

This above account is a daughter's experience of her late dad's care when admitted and treated at a London hospital. Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is supporting other families with a similar experiences at hospital NHS Trusts. We are supporting families and awaiting the complaint outome. If you are interested in this family care experiences, please send us your contact details to ccftv.cares@gmail.com and we will forward on with permission.


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Dominic Grieve Westminster Speech 2018 on Care Campaign For The Vulnerable Safety Monitoring In Care Homes

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Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is learning of the pressures faced by conscientious led Care Providers striving to offer a caring and safe environment to both service users and staff. Safety monitoring is proving to be a invaluable care assist tool - bringing a more open and transparent culture into care homes as well as saving valuable resources within the care home sector and the NHS

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