‘Bed blocking’ sees pensioner in critical condition stuck in wrong hospital

The Royal Free Hospital. Picture: Ken Mears

The Royal Free Hospital. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

A pensioner with critical health problems was “bed blocked” for 11 days when he needed to be at a Hampstead dialysis unit – and, in a “catastrophic mix up”, nearly had a pacemaker fitted he didn’t need.

Wilson Rampasad, of the Six Acres Estate, was admitted to the Whittington Hospital in Archway with a suspected heart attack. But he was immediately told he needed to go to the Royal Free because he suffered from dialysis, a form of kidney failure, which could only be monitored properly at the Hampstead facility.

There isn’t a dedicated dialysis unit at the Whittington.

Veronica Rampasad was repeatedly told her 77-year-old father could not be moved due to a lack of beds at the Royal Free: a scenario commonly referred to as bed blocking.

“He has had no treatment yet,” she told the Gazette last week. “It’s the most frustrating thing and he twice went into critical care while waiting at the Whittington because his kidneys were failing.

“After eight days he was diagnosed with flu having been in contact with other sick patients.

“My father was left without a heart monitor and left in his own faeces for days. They hadn’t changed his nappy so I had to do it.

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“Then, on New Year’s Eve I got an email saying he was going to Barnet Hospital to have a pacemaker fitted but that was wrong, they mixed him up with someone else.”

Veronica, 45, who lives on the Andover Estate and works at the nearby Pooles Park Primary School, said she had to use this mistake as “leverage” to get her father moved, which happened the same day.

She has filed formal complaints against both the Whittington and Royal Free.

A Whittington Health NHS Trust spokesperson said: “We strive to give the best possible care to all our patients. In this particular case, we were in regular contact and communication with the patient’s daughter throughout his time with us.

“We are currently investigating the family’s formal complaint.”

A Royal Free London spokesperson said: “We are sorry that Ms Rampasad feels let down regarding her father’s treatment and we are looking into her complaint.”

“All of our patients are treated according to clinical priority and we are only able to admit a patient to an isolated specialised bed if we have the appropriate capacity.”