A MUM was forced to buy bags of ice to treat her son’s broken ankle after nurses said all their ice machines were broken.
Debra Sanderson said her son was told by doctors at Royal Blackburn Hospital his leg needed to be packed with ice to reduce heavy swelling so he could undergo an operation.
But when she asked nurses for ice, Mrs Sanderson said she was told they had run out.
She said she was forced to visit a supermarket twice a day to buy ice cubes herself for her son, who spent 10 days in hospital after injuring his ankle while playing football.
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle, who complained on Mrs Sanderson’s behalf to East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, branded the man’s care ‘appalling’.
Hospital bosses said ice had been available elsewhere in the hospital, but the trust admitted this had not been made clear to the family.
Mrs Sanderson, 45, of Sutton Avenue, Burnley, said her son was taken to Blackburn by ambulance and was visited by a consultant the following day.
She said she was told her son’s leg would need to be kept elevated and packed with ice.
“When we went in to see him on the Sunday he was in some discomfort,” she said.
“I asked the nurses if he could have his ice replaced because it had begun to melt.
“When we went back that evening it still hadn’t been done.
“I asked a nurse again because nearly five hours had elapsed. She said ‘unfortunately we’ve no ice’.
“I said, ‘I’m sure in a hospital this size there is somewhere you can get some ice’, and she said ‘we can’t, the machines are all broken’.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”
Mrs Sanderson decided to take the matter into her own hands and set off to a local garage, where she bought a pack of ice to give to her son and put in the ward’s fridge freezer.
She said: “Every day I took two bags of ice, one in the afternoon and one at night time, for a week.”
Mrs Sanderson said the problem was only addressed after she contacted Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle, who complained on her behalf to trust bosses.
Her son eventually had the operation and was discharged on Sunday, May 29.
Mrs Sanderson said: “It’s not so much the money, because the ice cost about £3 a day.
"It’s that I don’t want it to happen to anybody else.
“We’ve had an email saying it was a lack of communication, but it wasn’t a lack of communication in my opinion, it was neglect.”
Mr Birtwistle said it was ‘ridiculous’ that Mrs Sanderson should have to buy ice to treat her son’s injury.
He said: “The lady told me this story and I found it hard to believe.
“Why should they have to come to see me, to tell me what their son hasn’t had in hospital, to get it sorted out?
"With all those administrators at the hospital, some of them on obscene salaries, why couldn’t they deal with it?
“The care he received was appalling.”
Lynn Wissett, deputy chief executive of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said it had contacted the family within four hours of receiving Mr Birtwistle’s email and met with them the next day.
She said: “The patient’s leg needed a very large amount of ice to reduce the swelling, meaning ice flowing through the ward’s machine was not quite enough.
“There are a number of machines across the hospital and the trust has always had enough ice to meet the needs of patients.
“Unfortunately, the availability of ice elsewhere in the hospital had not been made clear to the patient and his family.
“At our meeting, we explained that enough ice was always available to meet all of our patients’ needs, and further explained this patient’s treatment plan.
“We are, as with any patient, happy to meet with this patient and his family again.”