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