A DISTRAUGHT husband has vowed to fight ‘tooth and nail’ to get his bedridden wife of 58 years home from hospital.
Richard McDermott is at loggerheads with health bosses over the care of Edith, 77, who has been in Royal Blackburn since suffering a stroke in September.
She has lost the use of her left arm and leg, and can no longer sit up on her own. She is fed through a tube in her stomach and requires constant care, Mr McDermott said.
The 82-year-old has been told by medical staff she needs 24-hour care by qualified staff at a care home.
But he believes she should be looked after at home and has said he will fight legal proceedings launched in order to move her into residential care.
The former airman and BAE engineer, who lives in the Accrington Road area of Blackburn, said: “I will fight to the end. If I have to go to the European Court of Human Rights, I will do it.
“I will fight tooth and nail. I will go to Strasbourg, I’m not worried.”
Mrs McDermott, who raised sons Richard and Gary and daughter Alison with her husband, was in good health until she took ill last year.
After complaining of pins and needles in the arm while shopping at Asda, in Lower Audley Retail Park, she was taken to hospital for a scan.
Mr McDermott said she was kept in, before being moved to another ward in October, where she has remained because she suffered a stroke.
“She has not moved out of that ward since she went in there. If anything, she is deteriorating,” he said.
“It’s pathetic to stand by the bed and look at her. I have had to take her rings off in case they are stolen, and she has no dentures in.
“She looks a first class mess and I’m not too big to say so. She has been lying in a bed staring at a ceiling for 10 months.”
Mr McDermott said he has held several meetings with nurses, consultants, and social services at the hospital about the future care of his wife.
He said: “The tone of the meetings seemed to change from her going home to her going in a nursing home. I made it clear every time they brought it up that it’s my wife’s wish to go home. This went on until six weeks ago.
“I went for another meeting and the district nurse came down. She arranged to see me at the house, and said we will have her home for the Wednesday.
“I was over the moon. Things were going right at last.
“Then I get a call the day before asking if I would go for a meeting at the hospital.
“The family doctor was there, insisting she goes to a nursing home. Now they say they want fully qualified nurses and she needs 24 hour care. They are trying to say she does not have the mental capacity to make that decision herself.”
Mr McDermott said medical equipment, such as a specialist bed, had been delivered to his home and set up in the corner alongside a television, ready for his wife’s arrival.
He also said he had been on a training course to use the PEG Feeding System his wife uses, and said she is no longer ‘being treated for anything to do with the stroke’ in hospital.
He added: “The physios say she is unsafe in a wheelchair. I don’t believe them. I want a second opinion. The ward nurse said she will be in that condition until the day she passes.”
Mr McDermott said he met Edith when he was in a Manchester bar ‘immaculately dressed’ in the 1950s.
“This young whippersnapper came up to me and said, ‘do you not speak to anybody?’ “We got talking, and now we’ve been married for 58 years,” he said.
“We are two complete opposites, and that’s a good thing.”
He added: “I have no complaints about the nursing staff, they even call me Mac.”
Chris Pearson, chief nurse at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We are unable to comment on Mr and Mrs McDermott’s current situation. Whilst we deeply sympathise with Mr McDermott, we are keeping him informed every step of the way.”
A spokeswoman for Blackburn with Darwen Council said social services had not been involved in the dispute, and declined to comment .