The family of a blind stroke patient who was abandoned in a hospital car park by bungling nurses in the pouring rain wearing just his pyjamas have received a pay-out from the NHS.
Frank Kelly, 79, developed pneumonia and died just three months after the appalling blunder in 2011.
His devastated family have now received an out of court settlement after the NHS admitted a catalogue of mistreatment during Frank’s five-month stay in hospital.
The retired farmer was admitted to Worcestershire Royal Hospital in November 2010 after suffering a second stroke which left him blind.
But the family soon took up a 24-hour rota at his bedside after being shocked by the “appalling” care he received from doctors and nurses.
In the most sickening incident Frank’s son Martin, 51, arrived at the hospital on a rainy day in December 2010 to see his father stood in the middle of the car park wearing nothing but his sodden pyjamas.
It later emerged he had wandered into the car park after the nurses who were moving him to a new ward lost him.
In February 2011, just a few months after being left in the car park in midwinter, Frank died.
Son Martin, from St John’s in Worcester, yesterday said the incident was part of a long-running series of mistreatment that bordered on “cruelty” and a breach of his human rights.
Martin and the rest of his family received a financial settlement from the hospital after one of Frank’s own medical team advised them to take action.
He said: “He was not fed properly, they didn’t seem to realise that he was blind.
“He was dehydrated all the time and the communication on the wards was just appalling.
“We were begging for help but he was never given a chance.
“When I turned up to see my dad in the car park, I was stunned, I couldn’t believe it.
“I stopped the car, raced over and told him I was there.
“We took food in every day because he wasn’t getting fed.
“We were begging for help, but it was an absolute let down.
“We all believe that with better care we could have had dad home again.
“It’s so sad to think that he worked his whole life and when it came to it, he couldn’t even get decent hospital care.
“The hospital has admitted a total failure of care and that dad had an awful slice of the cake.
“We didn’t do this for any financial reasons, we did it to try and highlight the failings and ensure this sort of thing does not happen to anyone else.
“We have been told it is improving but we are not convinced and we do fear what sort of care we would get if we were ever unfortunate enough to need them again.”
He added that the health system had “too many managers in suits” at the expense of nurses devoted to care.
He says that overwhelmed nurses were unable to find the time to feed, shave or exercise his Irish-born father.
The hospital has since apologised to the family.
In a letter to Frank’s widow Anne, 78, Chief executive Penny Venables said: “I am acutely conscious that these improvements came too late to positively influence your father’s experience and that is a matter of deep regret.
“I can fully understand how angry and frustrated you must have felt about the care he received at the time and how painful it must have been for you to witness his suffering.”
“I have taken their concerns extremely seriously and am determined that standards across the trust will continue to be raised.
“Everyone is committed to providing the highest quality care for all patients and striving to continuously improve the care we offer.”