Ann Clwyd complains of 'cold' University Hospital of Wales nurses
- 4 December 2012
- From the section Wales
An MP has broken down as she described the "coldness, resentment, indifference and contempt" of some nurses who treated her late husband.
Ann Clwyd, Labour MP for Cynon Valley, said Owen Roberts died "like a battery hen" at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
She claimed he had "hospital-induced pneumonia" and nurses did not keep him warm or care for him.
UHW said it would like to discuss Ms Clwyd's complaints with her.
Ms Clwyd's spoke on the BBC Radio 4's The World At One on the day the chief nursing officer for England called for more emphasis on nurses providing compassionate care in hospitals.
In a new campaign aimed at reassuring the public, Jane Cummings said action must be taken to ensure the values such as compassion, communication and commitment in public health care were embedded.
"There is poor care, sometimes very poor," she said. "Such poor care is a betrayal of what we all stand for."
Ms Clwyd's husband, a former head of news and current affairs for BBC Cymru Wales and an ITV executive, had been treated for multiple sclerosis before his death in October.
She described how, hours before he died, he complained that he was cold and wanted to go home.
"He didn't have any clothes over him and he was half covered by two very thin inadequate sheets," she said.
"His feet were sticking out of the bed at an angle and he was extremely cold and I tried to cover him with a towel.
"He was very distressed and totally aware of his situation and, although unable to speak because of the oxygen mask, he made it clear he was cold and wanted to come home.
"A few hours later he died."
She added: "I really do feel he died of cold, and he died from people who didn't care."
Ms Clwyd, 75, explained how she had seen a nurses round only once between 14:30 BST and 22:30 BST during her visit.
When she stopped a nurse in the corridor to ask why her husband was not in intensive care she was told that there were lots of people worse than him.
Ms Clwyd broke down in tears when she said that the whole experience gives her nightmares.
"I really find it difficult to sleep and very difficult to talk about," she said.
She likened his death to that of a "battery hen" adding that he was cramped and squashed up against the iron bars of his bed with an oxygen mask that did not fit.
She said he had an eye infection and very dry lips, which she tried to moisten with her own lip balm.
Ms Clwyd added that she felt she should bring a complaint "because I think it's just too common place, this sort of thing".
"I thought he was with professionals," she said
"Nobody should die in conditions I saw my husband die in."
UHW said it acknowledged the seriousness of the concerns raised by Ms Clwyd and welcomed the chance to meet her so that full and formal investigation into the case could begin.
Ruth Walker, executive nurse director, said: "We are aware that Ms Clwyd has had discussions with one of our respiratory consultants to discuss elements of the care of her late husband and we look forward to having the opportunity to discuss the full circumstances surrounding his care.
"As a health board, we recognise that we don't get things right all of the time, but we are always saddened to hear of examples of poor standards of care, which cause so much distress to patients and their relatives.
"We will not tolerate poor care, which is why it is so important that each incident is fully investigated, so that we can drive up standards and provide patients and their families with the quality of care they need and deserve."