A furious husband told today how he found out his wife had been put on the Liverpool Care Pathway – when he overheard a doctor and a nurse GOSSIPING about her.
Grandmother-of-two Josephine Dunn, 73, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham on March 30 with a urinary tract infection.
Husband Stuart, 68, rushed to the hospital to be with his wife but was told by doctors that she had “no chance” of surviving.
She came around later that day but Mr Dunn only became aware she had been put on the hated end-of-life plan when he overheard a doctor talking to a nurse.
Despite doctors ruling she qualified for the Liverpool Care Pathway, Mrs Dunn, a retired cleaner, was discharged from hospital on April 2.
She was taken back to Peacemills Care Home in Nottingham and where she is recovering.
The NHS Trust responsible for the hospital has apologised for a “breakdown in communication” with Mr Dunn.
But the retired WHSmith worker slammed the hospital for leaving his wife-of-40 years “to die”.
Mr Dunn, from Nottingham, fumed: “I got a call saying you had better get to the hospital.
“She was in a holding bay off A&E and then she was put in a side ward.
“The doctor came to me and said no chance at all that she is going to pull through.
“She came around Saturday lunchtime and I gave her some water and some yoghurt. I never saw another doctor until the Sunday.
“On Sunday I just happened to hear a doctor saying to a nurse ‘I’ll have to take her off the Pathway’.
“I thought ‘did I hear it right’ so I said ‘is that right what I heard’ and the nurse said ‘yes I thought you knew’.
“An apology isn’t good enough. I first overheard she was on the pathway from hearing doctors and nurses talking.
“I wouldn’t have known had I not heard them gossiping. No one told me directly.
“I was angry because I know what the Liverpool Care Pathway is.
“As soon as I realised what was going on I asked for her to be taken off it and the mood immediately changed.
“Before I knew they couldn’t do enough for me then after I knew they were off with me.
“If she had died Saturday morning, I wouldn’t have known she was on Pathway.
“I had to tell my daughter and she had to bring the grandkids up to say goodbye to her.
“In my mind, once you reach that certain age, they don’t seem to care, you’re just a number.
“To me, it’s wrong, they just decided that’s it, she has no chance.”
Mrs Dunn started developing dementia ten years ago.
In 2008 she moved into Peacemills Care Home when her round-the-clock care needs became too much for her husband to cope with on his own.
Mrs Dunn, who has one daughter Cara, 33, and two grandchildren, is recovering at the care home.
Mr Dunn said: “I don’t want people to go through what I had to, they should at least be informed.
“If an older person heard LCP, they might think it is just medicine or something.
“If they can do it to me then how many more people can they do it to.
“I suppose it’s a good thing if you’re terminally ill but not when they give someone no chance to recover when they can.
“Because seven days since she left hospital she is sat in the dining room or lounge at the care home and is happy.
“An apology doesn’t make things right, they left her to die.”
Dr Stephen Fowlie, Medical Director at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We have apologised to Mr Dunn for the breakdown in communication in his wife’s care.
“The Liverpool Care Pathway is used at NUH as established best practice for guiding the treatment of patients at the end of their life.
“However this decision should not have been enacted without discussion with Mr Dunn, who arrived at the hospital a short time after his wife.”
The controversial Liverpool Care Pathway is a medical practice which outlines care options for terminally ill patients – often reducing food and water for them.
It was initially developed for the care of dying cancer patients but was heavily criticised in 2012.
The NHS was accused of using it as a way of prematurely ending elderly people’s lives who cost the NHS too much cash.