Stoke & Staffordshire

Stafford Hospital: The victims of the hospital scandal

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In the years leading up to 2008 hundreds of people died at Stafford Hospital amid "appalling" levels of care.

The public inquiry heard that managers cut costs and reduced nursing numbers in a bid to achieve Foundation Trust status, even if that meant patients were put at risk.

Here are the stories of some of the people who suffered poor standards of care at the hospital.

Peter Burnhill

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Image caption Peter Burnhill was made to wait six hours on a trolley in A&E

Leukaemia patient Peter Burnhill, 84, was taken to Stafford hospital in 2007 with breathing problems.

When he arrived at A&E he was left to wait for six hours on a trolley.

His wife Sonia Burnhill said he was left without food and was "practically ignored by nurses" despite having low oxygen levels.

After being transferred to an assessment ward Mrs Burnhill said his condition rapidly deteriorated. He died at home less than a week later.

She said: "The whole experience stressed him out, and he came out of hospital visibly shaken and much weaker."

Bella Bailey

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Image caption The death of Bella Bailey led her daughter Julie to start the Cure the NHS campaign group

Bella Bailey, 86, had a hiatus hernia and suffered breathing difficulties.

She died in Stafford hospital after spending two months on a ward following a routine operation in September 2007.

The public inquiry heard she was left without oxygen because of a shortage of nurses to restore the supply and she was also dropped by hospital staff while being transferred back to bed.

Following her death, her daughter Julie Bailey set up the Cure the NHS campaign group to highlight failings at the hospital.

She said: "I just wanted to stop what was going on in the hospital and after the first meeting, we realised that the problems at the hospital were more than just our own experiences."

Joan Giles

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Image caption Joan Giles' family said she became 'too weak' for her chemotherapy treatment

Joan Giles, 81, was admitted to Stafford Hospital in January 2009 for cancer treatment.

Her lymphoma was originally misdiagnosed as kidney stones.

Her family maintain that she was not killed by the cancer but by neglect and misdiagnosis during her month at the hospital.

They claimed that she would be left without pain relief for as long as two hours and doctors failed to spot bed sores and severe constipation which left her dehydrated.

Her son-in-law, Roger Dobbing, said: "Neglect left her so weak that by the time she got to the sixth session of chemotherapy she was not fit to receive treatment."

Arthur Peacham

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Image caption Doctors discovered a tumour on Arthur Peacham's spine after he was moved to another hospital

Arthur Peacham, 68, was admitted to Stafford hospital in 2006 with back pain. He was diagnosed with osteoarthritis.

He caught the Clostridium difficile bug while in hospital, before being transferred to New Cross hospital in Wolverhampton when a tumour was discovered on his spine. He later died.

His wife Gillian Peacham said when Stafford Hospital told her he had caught C. difficile they admitted they had known 11 other people on the ward were already infected but they had no other place to put him.

She said: "The wards were filthy and there were never any nurses and he was often lying in his own soiled bed sheets.

"They failed in their duty of care. If it had a been a dog being treated in that way the RSPCA would have blown the hospital apart."

Joyce Williams

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Image caption The family of Joyce Williams said her condition "went down rapidly" after going into hospital

Joyce Williams, 86, went into Stafford Hospital in 2007 with a broken arm and a urine infection.

She died from the urine infection, which was not treated.

Her family said that during her stay in hospital she fell out of bed and was mis-handled by nursing staff which left her with bruises all over her arms and back.

Her daughter, Castelle Davis, said: "They kept telling me she had dementia because she was forgetful and hallucinating.

"I was later told by a nurse friend of mine that she had those symptoms because she was so dehydrated.

"She went downhill rapidly because she wasn't eating and weight dropped off her, she was just six stone when she died."

Nicola Monte

Image caption Nicola Monte spent nine months in hospital after contracting three superbugs

Mother-of-two Nicola Monte had just given birth to her second child when she had to go back to Stafford Hospital with a bowel condition in 2005.

She spent the next nine months in hospital after picking up three hospital superbugs, C. dificile, E.Coli and MRSA, and was left malnourished.

She said sores appeared all over her body, some even a foot wide, but staff did not seem to care.

She said: "Ward 11 was chaotic, not very clean, the toilets were often filthy and people's stool samples were left around in cardboard pots, which I think gave rise to cross infection."

Mrs Monte had to give up work after suffering long term problems from her condition.

"That time in hospital destroyed the person I was," she said.

Joan Morris

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Image caption Joan Morris' daughter said she was 'ashamed of the NHS'

Joan Morris, 83, was admitted to Stafford Hospital in December 2006 with a chest infection.

Her family said that food and water was left on a table instead of being given to her and she did not have a bath or shower throughout the month she was in hospital.

Mrs Morris suffered a heart attack and died four weeks after being admitted.

Giving evidence at the public inquiry, her daughter Sandra Whitehouse, who had trained to a nurse herself, said that she was "ashamed of the NHS."

She said "My mum received just one day of care in four weeks - and that was the day she died.

"In this day and age that standard of care was unacceptable, what went on with her shouldn't have happened."

Dorothy Kathleen Mountford

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Image caption The family of Dorothy Kathleen Mountford said they had been 'devastated' by her death

Dorothy Kathleen Mountford died at Stafford Hospital the age of 78 in 2007.

She had been admitted with shingles.

Her family maintain her death was due to a fall she suffered in the hospital less than a week after being admitted, although the trust had no record of such an incident.

Her daughter Jenny Goring said: "I believe that the fall left her shaken and damaged her lung, she was never the same again.

"I don't want to lose the hospital because it's important for the community but it doesn't seem like they're learning by their mistakes."

She added: "Mum's death devastated our family and lessons need to be learned."

Jane Locke

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Image caption Jane Locke caught three superbugs during her stay in Stafford Hospital

Jane Locke , 46, had been to Stafford Hospital several times with stomach problems and was being treated for cancer.

She contracted C. difficile, MRSA, and a streptococcal infection, which it is thought was what eventually killed her in July 2006.

Her mother June Locke felt that Jane, who had learning difficulties, had been neglected by hospital staff.

She said: "They left her in sheets that had faeces on and never put the bed rails up to stop her falling out, when we asked them to.

"We were so preoccupied with looking after Jane that we never thought to complain, you think you're the only one."

Ellen Linstead

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Image caption Ellen Linstead was buried in a sealed body bag because she was so badly infected with C. difficile

Ellen Linstead, 67, caught both Clostridium difficile and MRSA at Stafford Hospital while being treated for bone cancer.

Her daughter Deb Hazeldine said the wards were "filthy" and she would often have to wash faeces off her mother's hands.

She said: "What I witnessed on the wards I will take to my grave and it spurs me on to make sure it never happens again to anyone else."

When Mrs Linstead died in December 2006 her body was so badly infected with C. difficile that she had to be buried in a sealed body bag.

Ms Hazeldine wrote to the hospital and then the Healthcare Commission who upheld her complaint in 2008.

She said: "There needs to be more accountability - there is no openness - we have a fantastic complaints system on paper, but it's selective whether people implement it or not."

George Dalziel

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Image caption George Dalziel lost three and a half stone during his stay in Stafford Hospital

George Dalziel died at Stafford Hospital after surgery for bowel cancer. He was 64.

The operation was a success, but his epidural was dislodged leaving him without pain relief for days.

His wife Christine said he was left in soiled bedclothes for hours and was too scared to ask his nurse for water.

She said: "George was a proud man, he was always very clean and to be put in the position he was put in he felt ashamed, disgusted, he was so upset with what was happening to him."

While in hospital Mr Dalziel lost three and half stone and Christine said "his bones were sticking out of his back."

She said: "When I left him the night he died I was hugging him and I said 'I love you' and he said 'I love you too' and those were the last words we said."

Ronald Millington

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Image caption Ronald Millington was misdiagnosed three times before his lung cancer was detected

Retired engineer Ronald Millington, 63, was a regular patient at Stafford Hospital, having CT scans on his chest because of breathing problems.

He was misdiagnosed with fibrous scar tissue until on the third scan doctors found that he had lung cancer.

His wife Mary believed if they had spotted the cancer sooner, he would have had a better chance for recovery. He died in May 2003.

She said: "It's just another mistake in a long line of them at Stafford hospital.

"I hope the inquiry helps set it right, because too many people now don't want to go there for fear they won't come out again."

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