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Whittington Hospital to investigate after cancer patient family complaints

PUBLISHED: 06:00 23 June 2011

Michael Foley

Michael Foley

Archant

»Friends and relatives of a cancer patient who died at Whittington Hospital have lodged an official complaint regarding the care he received.

The hospital confirmed it is now investigating after Michael Foley, 69, of Salisbury Walk, Archway, died on May 21, more than two weeks after being admitted to the hospital.

The retired cement truck driver was diagnosed with lung cancer in March this year and after a course of chemotherapy, he was admitted to the Mary Seacole ward of the hospital on May 6.

Mr Foley’s family – including his sister Veronica Foley – say they were satisfied with his care until he was moved to the hospital’s Mercers ward five days before his death.

They claim he was “ignored” by staff and that he lost all dignity.

In a letter to the Whittington’s chief executive Dr Yi Min Koeh, the family refer to examples of poor care – from hygience standards to the lack of attention given to Mr Foley.

Veronica said: “I am relieved that his suffering is now over but the last few days of his life were so horrible in that ward.

“He was left to suffer with no care at all. It was a nightmare.

“Friends had to be there to feed him or get him to drink and do his mouth care or position him up in bed.”

She continued: “The standard of hygiene was poor with uncleaned sinks and dirty floors. You wouldn’t keep a dog in there.”

Mr Foley leaves a daughter Lisa, 38, and two granddaughters. His wife Joan died 11 years ago.

The family received a death certificate which first gave the cause of death as acute kidney damage – but then the hospital later produced a second document which gave the reason as a chest infection.

They also alleged that one of the student nurses was sick in front of them – and then blamed it on having a burger for lunch.

His friend Annie Doolan said: “I believe the health service does a good job but on this occasion the level of care was very poor.

“In one incident a bed pan was left under his bed for a long time which made him feel uncomfortable and embarrassed.

“It was so hard watching Michael lose his dignity like that.”

A spokesman for Whittington Hospital said: “The Whittington is investigating the complaint from the family and friends of Michael Foley and will get back to them as soon as we can.

“The hospital wants to meet with the Foley family and it is waiting to hear from them.”


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