A hospital patient claims she has been “psychologically traumatised” following routine treatment for kidney stones. Vicki Adams is accusing Kent and Canterbury Hospital of a litany of care blunders and says her cries for help fell on deaf ears.
Her horror stories include a soiled wound dressing found in her sheets when nurses told her she could make her own bed. She says nurses also failed to fix a dislodged catheter tube – leaving her soaked in urine for four hours. And when nature called she claims staff ignored her bell, forcing her to crawl 10 metres to the toilet.
Miss Adams’s allegations form the basis of an official complaint to the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust, which has responsibility for the hospital. The PhD student, of Black Griffin Lane, Canterbury, said:
I can honestly say that my treatment has left me completely psychologically traumatised.
Miss Adams, 31, was admitted to the hospital on three occasions in late November and early December to have her kidney stones treated. The latter visits involved stays on the hospital’s Clarke Ward for two and four nights respectively.
During the first stay, Miss Adams’s treatment involved the insertion of a catheter – an invasive and uncomfortable procedure allowing a patient to pass urine. At around 7am she discovered the device had become unattached and the contents of the bag had leaked into her bed, soaking her sheets and gown in urine.
I made the nursing staff aware of this at 7am but they didn’t change the bed or my night clothes until 11.35am, even though I asked repeatedly. It was absolutely stomach-turning. The dressing had some sort of bodily discharge on it, perhaps blood, perhaps faeces. The bed, my night clothes and my skin were soaked through with urine and this was extremely distressing and uncomfortable over the four-and-a-half hours I had to wait.
Miss Adams says that on one occasion she needed assistance to get to the toilet but received no answer when she rang her bedside bell.
In the end I crawled from my bed, the 10-metre distance between there and the bathroom. On the way back, the nurse saw me doing this and said ‘why are you doing that?’ And ‘can you imagine if it got out that patients were having to crawl to the bathroom?’
Perhaps most disturbingly of all, Miss Adams said she was given sheets to put on her bed and found a used wound dressing among the sheets.
It was absolutely stomach-turning. The dressing had some sort of bodily discharge on it, perhaps blood, perhaps faeces. My fiance was with me. When we complained they took it away straight away, but there was no apology.
Miss Adams says she tried to raise a variety of issues with staff. She said:
I know they’re stressed and incredibly stretched, but it really seemed like they didn’t want to hear complaints. They just didn’t want anyone to rock the boat. I’m under the impression if I’d just kept quiet and put up with things my life there would be easier.
A hospital trust spokesman said:
We are sorry to hear that Ms Adams did not receive the care she expected whilst in our hospital. We are fully investigating Ms Adams’ care and will be responding to her on our findings and any actions we will be taking.