‘Treated with no dignity or respect ...’

Injuries to Andrew Sanaghan's arm
Injuries to Andrew Sanaghan's arm

THE family of an elderly patient who was attacked while in hospital have lodged an official complaint outlining a catalogue of failings in his care.

Andrew Sanaghan (84), who has dementia, was taken by ambulance to Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital after suffering head injuries in a fall at his care home.

Injuries to Andrew Sanaghan's hand

Injuries to Andrew Sanaghan's hand

But the family is appalled by the “degrading and humiliating” way he was treated and say their father has been deeply affected by his experiences in hospital.

Their complaint outlines a shocking series of events, including:

• Mr Sanaghan spending up to 30 hours on a trolley and left in an admissions unit with no identification so staff had no idea who he was or why he was there, and with no buzzer or other means of attracting the attention of staff.

• Despite having no identification, Mr Sanaghan being given antibiotics – not knowing if he was allergic to the medication.

Injuries to Andrew Sanaghan's hand

Injuries to Andrew Sanaghan's hand

• All his belongings being dumped on top of his frail legs, so when his daughter eventually found him he was distressed and crying as he thought he was paralysed because he couldn’t move them.

• Mr Sanaghan being attacked by another patient after being left in the same ward bay as him, despite the patient having already assaulted a young doctor earlier the same day.

• Losing all Mr Sanaghan’s possessions, so when he was finally discharged his family had to wrap him in a surgical gown and blankets, with his son’s socks on his feet, to take him home.

Mr Sanaghan’s daughter Rosheen said: “As a family, we are so worried for any poor souls who end up in hospital with no-one to see what is happening to them.

“My father was treated without dignity or respect, without even the basic level of care or protection. If this had happened to a child, there would be a huge outcry. Yet my father is just as vulnerable as any child.”

Mr Sanaghan, who previously lived in David Street, Kirkcaldy, and ran a successful painting and decorating business in the town, moved with his wife, Louise (84), to Jenny Gray House in Lochgelly, after both were diagnosed with dementia.

The family say the care their parents have received at the home as been superb.

Rosheen said when Mr Sanaghan suffered a fall in the evening of Wednesday, December 19, he was taken to A&E at Victoria.

He was eventually transferred to an admissions unit around 7.00 a.m. the next morning, but when his daughter Marina went to visit him, she was told he wasn’t there.

After frantically trying to find out where he had gone, a receptionist eventually allowed Marina into the unit to see if he was there and she found him on a trolley, with no name tag or identification. When she told a staff nurse his name, she was told: “Oh, so that’s who he is.”

After moving his belongings off her distressed father’s legs, she pointed out he had no buzzer to call for help, to which the response was: “I hope he can shout loud.”

He was eventually moved to a ward, but during a visit by Marina and her brother Andrew on the afternoon of Friday, December 21, the patient in the next bed became aggressive and assaulted a doctor.

Later that evening, Marina received a phone call from the hospital saying her father had been attacked by the same patient. He suffered injuries to his arms and hands as he tried to protect himself.

The family decided their father would be safer and would receive better care back at Jenny Gray House, so they arranged for him to be discharged on the Saturday morning.

After a six-hour wait, they were eventually allowed to take him home, but all his belongings and clothes had been lost. He was taken back to the care home wrapped in a gown and blankets. Andrew even had to take off his socks to give to his dad to keep his feet warm.

Rosheen said: “What my dad has gone through is horrendous. I hate to think what would have happened to him without his family to look out for him. No-one should be treated in this way.”

Andrew added: “It’s hard to believe this could happen. It’s changed my dad. He doesn’t understand what has happened to him and is now wary of any staff at the home trying to administer care. He’s frightened of people he doesn’t know.”

Caroline Inwood, director of nursing for operational division, told the Press NHS Fife did not comment on individual cases. 

She said: “All complaints received by NHS Fife are taken seriously and investigated.

“We do not comment on individual cases, however, I can confirm we have received a complaint and will reply to the family directly.

“We are committed to doing our best for every individual in our care and take action to rectify any areas where we fall short of the standards we set ourselves.”