Widow makes plea for patient forum

Louise Richardson with a picture of John.
Louise Richardson with a picture of John.
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A WOMAN who claims her husband lay dying as other patients looked on has called for more dignity at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Louise Richardson’s plea comes as the Government launches an investigation into a high mortality rate at the hospital over two years from 2010 to 2012.

Recent figures showed 2,409 patients died after treatment at The Vic in the two-year period, yet only 1,900 deaths were expected.

Mrs Richardson’s husband, John, visited the hospital on February 28 last year and spent the day on the Haematology Day Unit.

Mr Richardson, 57, had been diagnosed with lymphoma in December 2011, and unbeknown to him and his family, the cancer had spread to his brain.

He suffered a massive haemorrhage while on the unit, where people were undergoing chemotherapy treatment, and died that evening.

Mrs Richardson, of Mansfield Road, Blackpool, accepts nothing would have changed the outcome of that day, but says more could have been done by the hospital staff to afford him more dignity in his final hours.

She said: “People were there fighting for their own lives and watching a man die.

“My husband became very poorly when he suffered a brain haemorrhage no-one knew about. The nurses were brilliant, but in the end there was just no dignity.”

Mr Richardson was placed on a trolley bed on the ward until a private bed became free in the evening.

Mrs Richardson, 50, put a complaint into the hospital, but said the response she got, which acknowledges that the ward was busy resulting in only a trolley bed initially being available, didn’t go far enough to address her concerns.

She is now hoping to set up a patients’ forum for people who feel more care should have been offered to them or their loved ones at The Vic.

She said: “There has to be other people out there with response letters to their complaints in their hands thinking ‘is that it?”

Mrs Richardson has already approached Lucia Frankitt, who lobbied the hospital for answers into her husband’s death on a ward in 2011.

As previously reported in The Gazette, Kevin Frankitt-Meek, 45, of Lytham Road, South Shore, died after developing an infection following a routine operation on his throat.

Mrs Frankitt has pledged her support to setting up a patients’ forum.

She said: “These are real human beings we are talking about and the way they are treated has a knock-on effect on their loved ones. We want lessons to be learned, especially when we’re dealing with someone’s life.”

The hospital maintains a high reported standard of mortality does not mean it is “failing as Trust, or this hospital is a dangerous place.”

Marie Thompson, director of nursing and quality at the hospital, said: “We responded to Mrs Richardson’s complaint and a comprehensive letter outlining procedures on the day of her husband’s death was sent to her.

“The letter also contained an invitation to Mrs Richardson to meet senior clinicians if she had any further concerns. That invitation is still open to her.

“We would welcome her thoughts and ideas about a dignity forum as we are always looking at ways to develop and improve our services.”

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