Family says dementia patient was not allowed to die with dignity

editorial image

Pilgrim Hospital is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a terminally-ill patient following a complaint from his family.

Reginald John Clayton, 78, was suffering from vascular dementia before he passed away at the hospital on April 10.

His family claim he was not given the appropriate care in his dying moments to allow him to die ‘with dignity’.

They also claim they were kept waiting a week for an after-care plan to be arranged so he could go home.

His daughter-in-law Sarah Nevitt contacted The Standard with the family’s concerns.

“He was in hospital for a couple of weeks with vascular dementia and was given two weeks to live,” she said.

“He was struggling with his breathing and his son had to hold the oxygen pipe, as there was no fitting there for it, until a nurse could find another connection.”

The family, from Chapel St Leonards, asked for him to be moved to another ward, but said within hours of him being relocated to a different bed, he had passed away.

“We don’t want anyone else to suffer like he did,” said Miss Nevitt. “Other people and other families on the ward were watching him as he died.

“He should have been given some privacy and some dignity in his dying moments.”

A spokesman for United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT), which runs Pilgrim, said: “We would like to apologise to the family of Mr Clayton that there were aspects of his care which they felt did not meet the standards expected. We take every complaint very seriously and our deputy chief nurse has been in contact with the family to offer our sincere condolences and to assure them we are investigating and will respond to them as soon as we can. We would also like to apologise for any delay in responding to the complaint.

“The trust’s new complaints process has recently been developed and there may be some delays as the new service is implemented. Any issues relating to quality of care for patients are taken very seriously and we continuously strive to improve our services.”