Grandma, 89, with leukaemia 'left in A&E corridor for 30 hours' after cutting head open

30 June 2022, 19:02

A grandmother was reportedly left in an A&E corridor for 30 hours at Whiston Hospital
A grandmother was reportedly left in an A&E corridor for 30 hours at Whiston Hospital. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

An 89-year-old grandmother with leukaemia was left in a hospital corridor for over 30 hours after cutting her head open, her daughter claims, as the NHS continues to experience "exceptionally high" pressure.

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The woman was taken to Whiston Hospital, Liverpool, in April after falling and hitting her head at her sheltered accommodation.

Despite the fact she was bleeding badly from her head when she arrived at the hospital on a Saturday morning, she was left on a stretcher in a hospital corridor and not admitted to a ward until Monday - nearly 40 hours later, the Liverpool Echo reports.

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The woman's daughter, who asked for her and her mother to remain anonymous, told the paper there were problems right from when they arrived at the hospital.

She said there "wasn't any space" to even get her into the A&E department, so the paramedics had to stay with them because they were not able to hand the patient over.

"We were in a corridor with lots of other people on stretchers – mainly elderly people," she said.

The incident happened at Whiston Hospital
The incident happened at Whiston Hospital. Picture: Alamy

She said her mother was looked at by a nurse and then a doctor, the latter of whom warned there would be a long wait for scans.

The daughter was told to leave after four hours, after being told the hospital could not accomodate family members.

Once she left, she and her family struggled to get hold of the hospital to get an update on her condition.

"Understandably they were extremely busy," she said.

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Later in the evening they were told the patient was comfortable and her head injury would be assessed by a specialist - but the following morning they were told she had fallen off the trolley in the night.

Her daughter said she "went straight there" and found that, whilst her mother's head injury had been cleaned, she was still in a corridor near where she had been left the previous day.

"By this point mum was really confused," said the daughter.

The woman - who is diabetic, has third stage kidney failure, leukaemia and heart problems - was admitted and reached a ward in the early hours of Monday.

The woman's daughter said the ambulance staff were "absolutely amazing" and the nursing staff "do what they do under very difficult circumstances", but said it was "unacceptable" she had been left in a corridor for so long.

She also highlighted that many other elderly patients were in the same position.

"It’s like they are disposable, they have no dignity," she said, and questioned what happens to patients who have no nearby family to advocate for them.

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The NHS is under increasing pressure
The NHS is under increasing pressure. Picture: Alamy

A spokesperson for the St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust, which runs the hospital said: "At times of great pressure, when demand exceeds the number of beds available to admit patients to the hospital, it is regrettable that there may be occasions where patients are cared for in stretcher triage for longer periods of time than we would wish. This was unfortunately the case in April and demand was exceptionally high.

"As with all other hospitals across the country, we have experienced a significant increase in demand for services over the last 3 years. Whiston Hospital remains the busiest A&E, with the highest number of attendances in Cheshire and Merseyside.

"Patient safety is always our priority. At all times we ensure that nursing and medical staff maintain the highest levels of care during this unprecedented level of activity. Our staff are responding to this increased pressure with exceptional professionalism and are working incredibly hard throughout the hospital to manage this demand."