Queen Alexandra Hospital - Portsmouth

**Update - Sunday 19th June** - I think I may be updating this fairly regularly. 

Still no response from PALS. Still no wallet or keys! Spoke to a customer yesterday who said the same thing happened to one of her family members; the items were found at a hospital in Bournemouth. Agency staff were blamed! It's been 19 days since I contacted them. On the 21st day if I've not heard anything I will write a formal letter and contact my local police person. It's bad enough people are dying due to their incompetence but to not even bother replying when items have been STOLEN - misplaced won't cut it with me, someone has taken them and kept them, is disgusting. I've yet to come across anyone who has a good word to say about the place. 

**Updated - Sunday 29th May**

*At 6pm yesterday evening my Grandfather passed away. Last Saturday he was told he could go home Tuesday, and whilst on Wednesday he was a little rough he ok; by Saturday there was no fight left in him. We'd had a call Friday to say they were worried by an infection he had and told it could be touch-and-go over the weekend but they'd upped his antibiotics and he was on a nebuliser to help with his lungs (at this point we assumed he now had pneumonia) but there was still hope. Saturday morning we took a call to say he was going to moved to his own room later that day and once there we'd be able to visit whenever we wanted and have as many people as we wanted. To us this was a sign he was most likely not going to last out the week. At 12.40 my Mum took a call from a nurse who said "are you coming up today?" Mum replied "I'm not as I'm coming tomorrow but my son and niece will be later". The nurse then said "you need to come or you might miss something" I find that very strange wording as if we were going to miss out on something exciting. We rushed up there, as did my cousin and for 4 hours we sat in his room with him, chatting to him but staring at just an empty shell. I did find it strange he had no drips in him. So much for the antibiotics we were told he had been given a stronger dose of. It was pretty obvious he wasn't for this earth much longer but his breathing was heavy and his heart was beating strong (from what we could see; he wasn't attached to any machines) so we agreed to leave to get something to eat and were going to work on a shift pattern whilst eating so someone was with him at all times. We'd been indoors just 10 minutes when the phone went. We knew straight away what had happened but my goodness, what an abrupt woman they used to make the call. I know he's a nobody to her but after telling Mum he had died she then asked what time she would be arriving up the hospital. Mum asked when did they need her to be there - assuming she had to sign forms - but the woman was asking as she thought Mum should see him. My Mum isn't that kind of person and said to her "thank you, but I have no wish to see his dead body" and before she got chance to say "but thank you for all you have done" the nurse huffed and hung the phone up on her!! I understand it may be customary in her culture to visit a deceased person, but it's not in ours and we'd already said our goodbyes. 

On Monday my Mum and brother went to collect his belongings and sign forms to find his wallet and keys (house and car) have gone "missing"!!! As you'll see if you read below my opinion of QA wasn't very good to begin with. Right now though it's gone even lower than I thought it would! *


Original Post.

My Grandfather is currently in hospital; he's at the Queen Alexandra hospital in Portsmouth. He was admitted just after midnight on Wednesday 11th/Thursday 12th May. As of this time of writing - 08:46 on Friday 27th May, they are still unable to tell us what is actually wrong with him.

We see him every Wednesday; he's comes over at 1pm, leaves around 9/10pm. We also call him on a Saturday and Sunday as he lives alone since my Nan died and his circle of friends has diminished as he's got older due to them being elderly too and passing away. He led us to believe we were the only people he really saw, although I have learned this week my cousin has been popping in to see him every Thursday evening; he'd mentioned before she "sometimes" stopped by when she was passing!

He spent the day with us on Wednesday 27th April (as usual) and we arranged to call him on Sunday 1st May. He beat us to that call by ringing us quite early (around 7am) to say he'd called 111 the previous evening and they'd sent out 3 paramedics. Turns out he had some kind of sickness/tummy troubles since the Thursday evening and had called them because he wasn't able to get through to a doctor - do we even have emergency doctors at surgeries any more? They told him it was "nothing to worry about" and suggested he take some fibrogel to help with the tummy issues. We told him off for wasting the paramedics time and said if he had been worried he should have called us and we could have taken him to one of the walk-in centres.

My Mum called him on the Monday to see how he was feeling and he said he was still very bloated but ok and had managed to get a doctors appointment for later that day. Upon getting there it transpired he had a chest infection for which he was given antibiotics, and told his tummy issue was "probably a stomach bug" as there was one "doing-the-rounds". We called him on the Wednesday (4th May) and he said he wouldn't be over that day as he didn't want to risk passing on a bug to us, or have to worry if he needed the loo. 

By Friday 6th he was no better so again called 111 because he'd been unable to go to the toilet. They sent paramedics out later in the day who again told him to keep taking the fibrogel which would eventually help him go to the loo (it transpired he'd not been able to go since the Monday - I know I didn't need to share that but it is relevant to what's been going on).

By Wednesday 11th he was still not feeling right, and told us he'd been having intermittent spells of not being able go to loo, to being constantly on there. Again he tried to speak to a doctor and got nowhere. He didn't come over and told us not to go down to him as he was still worried about passing on a bug. He said his chest was much better though and he sounded in good spirits. We said we'd call him Saturday unless he needed us beforehand and he agreed to call if he did. 

Fast forward to Friday and Mum tried to ring him in the afternoon about something and he didn't answer. This is not unusual for him as he's been known to unplug his phone in the past. When he'd still not answered by 8pm we considered taking a drive out to his place (an hours drive away) then figured he'd probably not be happy with us turning up at 9pm (he goes to bed early) so said if we'd not heard from him Saturday morning, we'd take a drive down when I finished work at 1pm. There was still no answer when Mum called Saturday morning, so on the off-chance she tried calling the hospital to see if he had been admitted. Whoever she spoke to was as much use as a chocolate fireguard and after calling them 4 times she was still no closer to knowing if he was there, or he wasn't. Instead she carried on with her day, went shopping and waited until I got home. When I did she told me about 12.45 she'd had a really random answerphone message left which she thought could be from him. When I listened I could just make out it was him telling us he was being moved to a different ward and he hoped we were going to finally make it up to visit him. It turned out he had been in hospital for 3 days, and nobody had bothered to let us know - my Mum is next-of-kin! He believed we had been informed once he was admitted. He believed wrongly. The reason they'd not shared anything when Mum had called to see if he was in hospital was because he'd been moved from one ward to another and then again to another and the phone operator didn't know where he was and didn't want to say anything because of this! 

For him to get there in the first place was not easy for him. Around 10pm on Wednesday evening he'd started to be sick and had diarrhea to go with it, however, he was puking and pooping blood, lots of blood. Knowing this was not a good thing, and not wanting to disturb us he called 999 and was told it could take them 7 (that's SEVEN) hours before a paramedic could get to him. He then called 111 and by midnight a paramedic had him in a bay outside the hospital waiting to be admitted. What an absolute shambles this government has allowed our amazing NHS to become. Even more shocking though is that the people who work in just don't seem to be bothered any more. They're too busy trying to do too many things because there's not enough staff. I totally understand how hard they work but by the same token they should understand that their patients are people too, and those people have family who love them and worry about them.

Eventually we found out which ward he was on and made our way to the hospital. I'm sure you can imagine my shock when I arrive at his room to find my cousin and her daughter in with him. They'd known since the day before and were livid with me for not letting them know sooner he was in there, because like him, they believed my Mum would have been informed as soon as he was admitted. We'd been discussing calling my cousin on our way up to the hospital, making the decision to let her know he was in once we knew what was going on. She'd found out by finding him not at home on Friday so phoned the hospital and was told he was in and what ward he was on, so they told her, but not my Mum. Anyway, we got it sorted between us and all was well. If only I could say the same for the rest of it. 

We are now on Day 16 of him being in hospital and they still don't know what is wrong with him. It took 14 days we learned he'd been given 2 litres of blood the day he was first admitted. My Mum has asked every day when she's been up there and all she kept getting told is that they are running more tests. My cousin has visited a couple of times and was told the same. Eventually on Wednesday my Mum was approached by a doctor who told her they were waiting on some results coming back to find out what is going on. In the meantime my grandad has gone from nil-by-mouth, to being given food which started him being sick again, to back to nil-by-mouth. He is on oxygen but they used the ones they stick up your nose and every time one of us has been to see him it's been over his head or under his chin and we've had to ask for it to be taped on to hold it in place. This is something the people looking after him should be doing. We shouldn't have to tell them. Last Saturday they came round with pills. He couldn't eat anything as he couldn't keep anything down and the nurse gave him some huge pills to swallow. I had to point out again he wasn't able to eat anything and so she said she would crush them up and put them in a drink for him. On Wednesday they did put him back on a drip, but it's an antibiotic one because (apparently) the infection he has (which we were not told about, unless it's the one from before he was admitted) wasn't clearing so they put him on a stronger dose. The doctor who spoke to my Mum gave the impression he could be moved to a convalescent home before being able to go back to his home, though most likely he would need to move into a residential home. We got a feeling of a little bit of hope for him although she was also asked to think about a DNR. I thought this odd; why give the impression he may make a good recovery but want to know about a DNR? He said he would discuss it further with her today when she visits. My cousin then went up Wednesday evening to find him much worse than he had been. When she asked for some answers to questions the nurses told her she would need to speak to a consultant and that one would be about at 9am yesterday morning, so she went and nabbed him at 9am where the information she was given was completely different to that which my Mum was given less than 15 hours before. It transpire that they believe the issue is caused by a cancerous mass in his stomach although they're not certain because they haven't had the results of his biopsy back - this was the first time a biopsy has ever been mentioned to any of us. My cousin was also told that they are more concerned right now by the infection as that could be potentially fatal if it can't be got under control, however, if he does beat the infection then they think it wouldn't be worth him having any treatment for the cancer, so they are basically keeping him alive just to then let him die a slow and painful death later down the line from the cancer. To me this is so cruel and if true - because we've still not been told definitively what is wrong with him - then I think keeping him alive just to let him die is bloody evil. My cousin did say the difference in him from when she left at 8pm on Wednesday until she saw him just after 9am yesterday was quite shocking and he was a lot weaker than he had been. 

Fast forward to this morning. I make my way downstairs at 05.45 to find an answerphone message was left at 05.27 from a doctor at the hospital wanting to speak to my Mum to give her an "update" on my Grandads condition. For 16 days they've not contacted her once or shared anything with her, yet choose to finally do so at the crack-of-dawn. This then sent us both into panic mode, wondering if we needed to get to the hospital as it was his final hours. For almost 2 hours I called his ward to find out what was going on and not once did the phone get answered (I allowed it to ring for 7 minutes once). I used both the extension numbers we have, and phoned the main switchboard to ask them to put me through. When the doctor eventually called us again it was to tell us he'd had a rough night but they'd got him under control and he was stable. All the panic and worry for something they could have told my Mum when she gets there later this morning. 

The lack of answers and the lax way he is being treated I genuinely find to be quite astounding. He's an 84 year old man; he deserves a little bit more respect/dignity than he is being given. 

Then again I'm not really sure why I am surprised. This is the same hospital who have just refused my niece an operation because they don't deem her to have lost enough weight; she's a size 16 and most of that size is down to the football sized hernia she has protruding from her stomach. A hernia she has because they failed to remove a much smaller one a few years back. A hernia that makes her look as though she is 8 months pregnant, but only one side of her stomach because 10 years ago the same hospital fucked up an operation she had, and managed to attach her bowel to her stomach lining when she went to have some intestine removed due to suffering with crohn's disease. Because of this mistake she now has a 1inch wide scar running from below her breast bone to just above her pelvic bone, technically pushing her stomach into 2 halves; when she had the first hernia op they said they would go through the same place and patch up the mess they made when they stitched her back up the time before, only to not do that and instead cut into her even more. Her stomach looks like a patchwork of flesh now. She is in constant daily pain from the crohn's as it is, but the hernia adds even more pain, not just by itself but also by affecting her crohn's. It is also stretching her skin where they failed to stitch her up properly. 

Still, you would think I'd not be surprised because the same year my niece had her first op screwed up her Mum died, thanks to the same hospital. She was told her cervical cancer couldn't be operated on and her only course of treatment was chemotherapy and radiotherapy - external and internal. During one bout of internal they managed to burn her cervix causing her no end of pain. With just weeks left to live a visiting surgeon from another hospital took a look at her notes and asked why she had opted to have chemo instead of surgery. He categorically stated that she could have had the operation with no issues as he had done many similar and had in fact trained the surgeons at the hospital so knew it could be done. Had they done the surgery her Mum would still be here. As it turns out the chemo option was the cheaper option and by the time they realised it wasn't working it really then was too late for her to be operated on. 

I said a long time ago if I'm ever taken ill I'd like to be sent to any hospital but there; I've had customers in my shop tell me some appalling stories of bad things that have happened to their family members who've been hospitalised there (several of them have actually taken the hospital to court - or so they've told me). What's happened (is happening) with my grandad has just reaffirmed in my mind that I absolutely would not want to be sent there. I remember how rare it was to hear bad things said about hospitals, yet these days it's more rare to hear something good said about them. 

As for my grandad, had he been a pet we would have already been advised (or maybe not, the way they've not bothered to keep us in the loop regarding anything else - until this morning) to do the kind thing and put him out of his misery, yet because he is human the poor man is going through a living hell from which he may survive just to then have to go through a slow and agonising death. I hate the thought of him dying but my goodness if given the choice to let him go now, or watch him waste away slowly and painfully I'd choose the former; I think anyone with even the smallest amount of humanity and compassion would do the same. It would be so sad for us (his family) but so much kinder to him.