Hospital accused of cover-up over failings in treatment of Kirkcaldy man

Happier days: Andrew Sanaghan with his wife Louisa.
Happier days: Andrew Sanaghan with his wife Louisa.

MANAGEMENT at Victoria Hospital has been accused of changing its story to cover up failings in the care of an elderly patient.

The family of Andrew Sanaghan (84), who suffers from dementia, were initially told he had been attacked by another patient during his stay at the Kirkcaldy hospital after suffering a fall in his care home.

The attack was also discussed at a meeting with hospital management after the family lodged an official complaint detailing a catalogue of failings in his care.

But a letter from Caroline Inwood, director of nursing, now claims the information given at the meeting was “incomplete” and “inaccurate”, and that the hospital now has a clearer picture of what happened.

Mr Sanaghan’s daughter Rosheen said: “When the incident happened, my sister Marina was phoned by a nurse to say our dad had been attacked.

“Now the hospital has changed its story. How can we trust anything they say? There is something very wrong within Victoria Hospital.”

Ms Inwood’s letter stated the incident was not witnessed by any nursing staff but it was seen by a relative of one of the patients in the bay at the time.

She wrote: “The relative indicates that the patient swung his arm towards your father but did not witness any contact with your father.”

Despite indicating he had not been struck, Ms Inwood went on to say a staff nurse then dressed a cut to his left arm - an injury which was not recorded when he was admitted.

Rosheen said: “It seems strange he would be treated for an injury if he hadn’t been attacked. It just doesn’t add up. The explanations we have received don’t make sense.

“There are certain members of staff who need to be held accountable for what’s happening in that hospital.”

Ms Inwood admitted many aspects of the care provided to Mr Sanaghan had not been of an expected standard.

She said it was unacceptable for a patient to be left in a bay without a call bell or other means to attract attention.

She apologised for the attitude of a nurse caring for Mr Sanaghan.

She said it was unacceptable his belonging were placed on his legs, leaving him distressed and believing he was paralysed because he couldn’t move them, and she apologised for the upset and concern this caused him and the family.

She said it was unacceptable staff could not tell the family where Mr Sanaghan was in the hospital when they came to see him.

She admitted the family would find investigations into the incident with the other patient unsatisfactory.

And she said errors had been made which resulted in the loss of Mr Sanaghan’s belongings, leaving him to be taken back to his care home wrapped in a blanket and wearing his son’s socks.

She concluded: “I was very sorry and disappointed that we have not provided your father with the appropriate care and attention that I would expect.

“I am sorry that I cannot change your father’s or your family’s experience.

“Over the next few weeks we will do our best to improve in the areas you have identified.”

Mr Sanaghan’s family said while they found much of the response from Ms Inwood unsatisfactory, they would not be taking the complaint any further themselves.

Rosheen said: “As a family, at least we have an apology in respect of some of the issues.”