South East Wales

Dying Princess of Wales patient rang daughter for help

Princess of Wales Hospital sign
Image caption Bill Haxton called his daughter after nurses took two hours to change him

A dying cancer patient was forced to phone his daughter for help after hospital staff failed to come to his aid.

Bill Haxton was receiving palliative care at the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, in 2010 when he made the desperate call late one night.

The 59-year-old had soiled himself and waited two hours for nurses to change him.

Daughter Nicola Haxton said he should never have been in that situation.

Mr Haxton, a former member of the Royal Corp of Transport, died from bowel cancer in February 2010.

"He was on a normal ward and it was about 11:30 at night when he rang me," said Ms Haxton.

"He was receiving palliative care at this point and he had soiled himself. He was quite stressed but he had been waiting for two hours for a nurse to change him. He had asked a few times."

But when staff failed to help him, Mr Haxton rang his daughter from his hospital bed.

"He was a proud man, he was ex-Army, and it must've taken a lot for him to call me," said Ms Haxton. "It took for me to ring the ward and speak to one of the nurses for someone to go and change him.

"It was a foreign nurse I spoke to. I explained the situation and that it was out of order. He should not have been in that situation."

She went on: "I feel really let down by the care that my father received. I didn't get to the bottom of it. I think going through something like that with a member of your family - I was obviously just focused on my dad."

'Will not bring him back'

Ms Haxton said she was not a "complainer" and decided not to pursue the matter.

"I didn't make a complaint, it would not have brought my dad back," said Ms Haxton.

"Generally, there was never enough nurses. I don't think someone receiving palliative care should have been on a normal ward anyway.

"I would never want to be treated at that hospital - and it's on my doorstep."

Ms Haxton's story comes after it was announced spot checks are to be carried out in hospitals in light of a report prompted by the death of an elderly patient.

The report, Trusted To Care, was ordered after the neglect of Lilian Williams, 82, treated at Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot hospitals.

Among several failings were patients being told to soil themselves and an ignorance of dementia needs.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford said he was "shocked" and apologised to those patients and families affected.

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