EXCLUSIVE: Death report finds hospital staff 'did not know' how to call an emergency doctor
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Hospital staff did not know they could use a 'fast beep' system to alert an on-call doctor to deal with a patient being restrained by police.
Philmore Mills, 57, a father-of-four from Langley, died within an hour of being handcuffed by police after an incident in ward nine at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, on December 27 - six days after he was admitted into intensive care with pneumonia.
A startling report sent to the Mills family revealed staff were unaware they could alert an on-call doctor by dialling an emergency number.
Instead, they called security - giving them a 'basic' medical briefing on Mr Mills because 'security guards would not understand medical terms'. In the report, the Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals Trust said it had been a 'learning point' that has been recognised. It has since given training to ward staff, incorporated the procedure into a patient safety training day and will run a campaign to highlight what action should be taken.
Daughter Rachel Gumbs, speaking on behalf of the family, said: "It's atrocious. My dad could have still been here now and fighting his illness. This should have been implemented in the first place - why do we have to learn from the death of our father?"
The trust sent an initial report of its investigation to the Mills family in April. They dismissed it as 'not good enough' and replied with a six-page letter questioning details.
The trust confirmed an addendum report, which outlined steps taken following the investigation, was sent.
The report read: "Staff acknowledged that they did not know they could fast beep the doctors and stated that because they were frightened for themselves and other patients they had called security." It added steps have been taken to train staff.
The report also said a 'robust' plan had been put in place to improve communication with families on ward nine after an analysis of complaints exposed action was needed.
Staff have been asked to account for missing documentation from the night of Mr Mills's death and various procedures to improve documentation during night shifts have been implemented.
Mrs Gumbs added: "We have been let down from day one."
An Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into the death is 'in its closing stages'.
This article appeared in Slough Observer 13 Aug 12
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Aug 14, 09:17
I have never worked at a hospital but on several occasions i have witnessed violent and disruptive patients - based on the amount of time spent at the hospital and the amount of violent patients i can imagine that the incidents of violent behavior, by patients, is extremely high.
When a hospital worker starts a shift they have every right to be safe at work, lets face it, nursing is a grossly underpaid, thankless task.
So when a patient becomes disruptive i totally understand why security where called first, i have seen the security staff running from one part of the hospital and i have assumed that a patient is being disruptive.
i do not know if the Doctor was called after security, i would assume one was, but as i have never seen a doctor run, rush maybe, to a ward my assumption is that security arrived first - they would have evaluated the situation and made a decision as to what was needed to prevent injury to others.
i am not saying mistakes where not made, as someone who has suffered pneumonia i know how you can become disorientated and confused but sadly someone died, and hopefully lessons have been learnt here.
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Aug 14, 17:29
The fundamental problem here is about basic training, lets get this right, whether the deceased gentleman was aggressive or not, many conditions can leave a person disorientated, confused and upset, this all should be taken into consideration, yes, maybe security should have been called, but BASIC training should have kicked in.
I'm sick and tired of people sticking up for the poor NHS, of course their are nurses that work very hard, there are also nurses that are brought to this country, have poor language skills which makes it difficult to commuicate with patients, are definately a cheaper option, while trust managers reap 6 figure salaries, unfortunately, as with a previous report about patients failing to turn up for appointments, the real problems lay at the door of too many tiers of management, too much box ticking and target chasing.
No doubt i'll get some public sector drone with a vested interest spouting off about the good ole NHS. wakey wakey people, don't find out the truth about the NHS when it's too late and you're on your way there on a stretcher!!
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