Barry was left to die alone after ‘appalling’ care

Barbara Dickens with a picture of her late husband Barry who died in Kings Mill Hospital last year.
Barbara Dickens with a picture of her late husband Barry who died in Kings Mill Hospital last year.

A HEARTBROKEN widow says her husband was left to die alone and without dignity at King’s Mill Hospital after he was put on the Liverpool Care Pathway without consultation or explanation.

Barry Dickens was suffering from lung cancer and had been cared for at home by his wife Barbara (67) for the two years he had been battling with the disease.

When he suddenly went downhill in June last year he was taken into hospital.

Barry died just three days later, aged 67, after receiving what Barbara described as ‘appalling’ care.

Speaking about Barry’s treatment, Barbara, of Sherwood Street, Newton, said: “I was horrified and disgusted and upset. I thought, ‘he was not like that when he went in’.

“I used to change him everyday, wash him down, do his hair, clean his teeth - they never did anything.”

Barry had been on oxygen 24 hours a day at home, as well as insulin for his diabetes and painkillers, but though Barbara told took his medication into the hospital, she says none of these prescriptions were continued.

Barbara also says he was left to sit in soiled bedsheets for considerable amounts of time and the nurses said that he was not to be given anything to eat or drink because he was having trouble swallowing.

Knowing that he was very ill and was coming to the end, Barbara was told he was on a ‘pathway’ but never had the meaning of this explained to her. She asked to be told when he was dying so she could get to the hospital.

“Barry did say he wanted me to be with him,” she said. “He didn’t want to die alone.

“The nurse said, ‘oh well, we don’t know when people are going to die - we just go in and find them dead’.

“We never did get a phonecall. I phoned up Monday morning when I found out he had been moved to a different room. They said they would look and then said that he was dead. They didn’t know what time he had died, but said he had been ok at 7am.”

Barbara has complained to King’s Mill about the treatment Barry received and has had a meeting with hospital bosses, but still not received formal apology.

“I feel terrible for sending him in there because of how he was treated,” she said.

“I blame myself for sending him in there and I blame myself for not being there.”

Susan Bowler, executive director for nursing and quality, said: “We offered a full explanation of the Liverpool Care Pathway and how it is implemented at a meeting with Mrs Dickens. During that meeting we apologised and at the conclusion gave her a DVD of the full recording of it.

“We were unaware that Mrs Dickens remained dis-satisfied but if she does she should get in touch so we can discuss it further.”