Burnley son’s anger as woman, 81, told she could not be resuscitated

ANGRY Florence and son Mark Robinson

ANGRY Florence and son Mark Robinson

First published in Health Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A FAMILY have lodged an official complaint with hospital bosses over the treatment of an 81-year-old grandmother.

Florence Topping said she thought she was going to die after a doctor told her ‘resuscitation would not be an option’ because of her lung problems.

Her family say she was told alone and they were not informed.

Mrs Topping, from Burnley, was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) when she was admitted to Royal Blackburn Hospital last month.

The disease leads to damaged airways in the lungs, which causes them to become narrower and makes it harder for air to get in and out of the lungs.

Her son Mark Robinson, 49, said: “My partner went to visit her and said it looked like she had completely given up on life, like she was ready to die.

“My mum told her a doctor had come to see her when she was on her own and told her that because she had COPD, if she needed to be resuscitated they wouldn’t be able to do it.

“She was panicking because she thought that meant she was going to die.”

After Mrs Topping was discharged on March 9 the family filed a complaint with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust through the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).

Related links

They also complained about nurses in the hospital who appeared to be laughing at another elderly woman suffering from dementia.

Mr Robinson said they were unhappy with the result of a follow-up meeting.

He said: “I understand them maybe having to say this but they should ring a family member first. They said it was the only convenient time for the doctor and that a nurse was there to support her, but there must be somebody from Age UK or PALS who can be there, not just a busy nurse who has other things to do.”

The Lancashire Telegraph’s health expert Dr Tom Smith, who has written a book on COPD, said attempting to give CPR to somebody with the disease was dangerous as it could cause a collapsed lung.

But he said: “I don’t see why the hospital has to tell the patient this beforehand. Maybe it has something to do with insurance.

“Maybe this doctor was following the rules but upsetting a patient is the last thing you want to do.

“It would be far better to do it in the presence of a relative and with somebody there who can counsel them afterwards.”

Meg Davey, the trust’s business manager for older people, rehabilitation and stroke, said a letter detailing all the discussions held and decisions made was being sent to the family.

She said: “If any member of the family still has concerns, I would urge them to get back in touch with us as soon as possible.”

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:22pm Fri 23 Mar 12

ladysal says...

I'm with Dr Tom Smith. I can so no reason whatsoever for her to be told at all. If they have to tell someone, then maybe the family outside of the patient's hearing, but to be told that they have essentially given up on you is totally inappropriate.
I have worked in hospitals and I am aware that the DNR decision is highly likely to be appropriate, but that is not the way to reat an elderly vulnerable woman.
I'm with Dr Tom Smith. I can so no reason whatsoever for her to be told at all. If they have to tell someone, then maybe the family outside of the patient's hearing, but to be told that they have essentially given up on you is totally inappropriate. I have worked in hospitals and I am aware that the DNR decision is highly likely to be appropriate, but that is not the way to reat an elderly vulnerable woman. ladysal
  • Score: 0

3:25pm Fri 23 Mar 12

useyourhead says...

At least they are consistant, they had this exact same chat with my mam six months ago, and she is only sixtytwo.
-
Exactly the same, we arrived after they had spoken to her, no option to be with her for support, no warning to speak of. there were other issues with her care too so from that moment she wasn't left alone there again until she as almost back to full health. we had to basically move in to make sure she wasn't suffering. either mentally or physically. doctors words were 'it is time to sort your affairs out because resuscitation will not be attempted'. Brutal!!!
At least they are consistant, they had this exact same chat with my mam six months ago, and she is only sixtytwo. - Exactly the same, we arrived after they had spoken to her, no option to be with her for support, no warning to speak of. there were other issues with her care too so from that moment she wasn't left alone there again until she as almost back to full health. we had to basically move in to make sure she wasn't suffering. either mentally or physically. doctors words were 'it is time to sort your affairs out because resuscitation will not be attempted'. Brutal!!! useyourhead
  • Score: 0

4:31pm Fri 23 Mar 12

mavrick says...

How many more horror stories are we going to read about from this Hospital. The time for a full public inquiry into the management of this Hospital must be undertaken. I have personally spoken to many people who are totally dissatisfied with the care and treatment from this Hospital. The problem is too many people do not follow it up with a written complaint. Why have the LET not asked the questions? when are the faceless management going to make a public response? I fear public confidence will be lost in the service, if they decide to let you live to complain.
How many more horror stories are we going to read about from this Hospital. The time for a full public inquiry into the management of this Hospital must be undertaken. I have personally spoken to many people who are totally dissatisfied with the care and treatment from this Hospital. The problem is too many people do not follow it up with a written complaint. Why have the LET not asked the questions? when are the faceless management going to make a public response? I fear public confidence will be lost in the service, if they decide to let you live to complain. mavrick
  • Score: 0

4:33pm Fri 23 Mar 12

caerhodfa says...

My sympathy to the families concerned.
Having lost my parents in recent years, I know how difficult it is to bear the loss.
This kind of complete lack of compassion, for the families is totally unacceptable. They cannot claim it is due to costs, since it costs nothing to explain in a more tactful manner the distressing news.
These people would have been more suitable working in a Nazi concentration camp during the 2nd World War, and not a NHS hospital in 2012.
My sympathy to the families concerned. Having lost my parents in recent years, I know how difficult it is to bear the loss. This kind of complete lack of compassion, for the families is totally unacceptable. They cannot claim it is due to costs, since it costs nothing to explain in a more tactful manner the distressing news. These people would have been more suitable working in a Nazi concentration camp during the 2nd World War, and not a NHS hospital in 2012. caerhodfa
  • Score: 0

5:42pm Fri 23 Mar 12

vegeboy says...

Dr Tom Smith, who has written a book on COPD, said attempting to give CPR to somebody with the disease was dangerous as it could cauese a collapsed lung. but surely without it the patient would die anyway.Id say a least try
Dr Tom Smith, who has written a book on COPD, said attempting to give CPR to somebody with the disease was dangerous as it could cauese a collapsed lung. but surely without it the patient would die anyway.Id say a least try vegeboy
  • Score: 0

5:45pm Fri 23 Mar 12

Pinky&theBrain says...

So welcome to the world of big brother management, GP commissioning and the death knoll of the NHS. This hospital has been under performing, missing targets and and getting it wrong for years. There's never a week goes by that they're not in the press, just this week they tell an 80 year old lady she can't be resuscitated with little care for her dignity and certainly no respect for her family, they are told they don't respond quick enough to complaints, or requests for information, but they sign a bit of paper to say they'll do better and what are we supposed to do- we have to believe them & again nothing changes.
If the commissioners listened to the patients they'd have sent this lot down the road a long time ago , 3 different Chief Executives in as many years and still the local PCTs commission their services? GPs should get a grip of this- that is if we believe they're in control. I for one will be making an appointment to see my GP, and ask him what he's going to do about this rubbish who ride rough shod over the public? Get em out I say and let the GPs and consultants take it over, at least they do their best - its the managers who have ruined this hospital, and I include the nurse managers and medical directors in that - they are all there with their empty words for a big salary, and don't give a monkeys about the patients.
So welcome to the world of big brother management, GP commissioning and the death knoll of the NHS. This hospital has been under performing, missing targets and and getting it wrong for years. There's never a week goes by that they're not in the press, just this week they tell an 80 year old lady she can't be resuscitated with little care for her dignity and certainly no respect for her family, they are told they don't respond quick enough to complaints, or requests for information, but they sign a bit of paper to say they'll do better and what are we supposed to do- we have to believe them & again nothing changes. If the commissioners listened to the patients they'd have sent this lot down the road a long time ago , 3 different Chief Executives in as many years and still the local PCTs commission their services? GPs should get a grip of this- that is if we believe they're in control. I for one will be making an appointment to see my GP, and ask him what he's going to do about this rubbish who ride rough shod over the public? Get em out I say and let the GPs and consultants take it over, at least they do their best - its the managers who have ruined this hospital, and I include the nurse managers and medical directors in that - they are all there with their empty words for a big salary, and don't give a monkeys about the patients. Pinky&theBrain
  • Score: 0

7:04pm Fri 23 Mar 12

mavrick says...

Pinky&theBrain wrote:
So welcome to the world of big brother management, GP commissioning and the death knoll of the NHS. This hospital has been under performing, missing targets and and getting it wrong for years. There's never a week goes by that they're not in the press, just this week they tell an 80 year old lady she can't be resuscitated with little care for her dignity and certainly no respect for her family, they are told they don't respond quick enough to complaints, or requests for information, but they sign a bit of paper to say they'll do better and what are we supposed to do- we have to believe them & again nothing changes.
If the commissioners listened to the patients they'd have sent this lot down the road a long time ago , 3 different Chief Executives in as many years and still the local PCTs commission their services? GPs should get a grip of this- that is if we believe they're in control. I for one will be making an appointment to see my GP, and ask him what he's going to do about this rubbish who ride rough shod over the public? Get em out I say and let the GPs and consultants take it over, at least they do their best - its the managers who have ruined this hospital, and I include the nurse managers and medical directors in that - they are all there with their empty words for a big salary, and don't give a monkeys about the patients.
Well said pinky, but do not run away with the idea that consultants and GPs have any more compassion than a hospital manager. They are running a business and money comes first. I don't believe doctors are the right people to control health budgets, It will be interesting to see how many GPs or their reps attend conferences in exotic locations sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. so RIP NHS.
[quote][p][bold]Pinky&theBrain[/bold] wrote: So welcome to the world of big brother management, GP commissioning and the death knoll of the NHS. This hospital has been under performing, missing targets and and getting it wrong for years. There's never a week goes by that they're not in the press, just this week they tell an 80 year old lady she can't be resuscitated with little care for her dignity and certainly no respect for her family, they are told they don't respond quick enough to complaints, or requests for information, but they sign a bit of paper to say they'll do better and what are we supposed to do- we have to believe them & again nothing changes. If the commissioners listened to the patients they'd have sent this lot down the road a long time ago , 3 different Chief Executives in as many years and still the local PCTs commission their services? GPs should get a grip of this- that is if we believe they're in control. I for one will be making an appointment to see my GP, and ask him what he's going to do about this rubbish who ride rough shod over the public? Get em out I say and let the GPs and consultants take it over, at least they do their best - its the managers who have ruined this hospital, and I include the nurse managers and medical directors in that - they are all there with their empty words for a big salary, and don't give a monkeys about the patients.[/p][/quote]Well said pinky, but do not run away with the idea that consultants and GPs have any more compassion than a hospital manager. They are running a business and money comes first. I don't believe doctors are the right people to control health budgets, It will be interesting to see how many GPs or their reps attend conferences in exotic locations sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. so RIP NHS. mavrick
  • Score: 0

2:09am Sat 24 Mar 12

nice person says...

caerhodfa wrote:
My sympathy to the families concerned.
Having lost my parents in recent years, I know how difficult it is to bear the loss.
This kind of complete lack of compassion, for the families is totally unacceptable. They cannot claim it is due to costs, since it costs nothing to explain in a more tactful manner the distressing news.
These people would have been more suitable working in a Nazi concentration camp during the 2nd World War, and not a NHS hospital in 2012.
Very true,,The level of stanndards are appauling,absolutely disgusting.It is the very people who paid into the system that are uncared for thr most...
Nevermind we can always accomodate people coming in to a good level eh...
[quote][p][bold]caerhodfa[/bold] wrote: My sympathy to the families concerned. Having lost my parents in recent years, I know how difficult it is to bear the loss. This kind of complete lack of compassion, for the families is totally unacceptable. They cannot claim it is due to costs, since it costs nothing to explain in a more tactful manner the distressing news. These people would have been more suitable working in a Nazi concentration camp during the 2nd World War, and not a NHS hospital in 2012.[/p][/quote]Very true,,The level of stanndards are appauling,absolutely disgusting.It is the very people who paid into the system that are uncared for thr most... Nevermind we can always accomodate people coming in to a good level eh... nice person
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree