You wouldn't treat a dog the way they treated our Jean

Halstead Gazette: Jean Warne at the wedding of her daughter in April 2010. She died at Colchester General Hospital in March 2013. Jean Warne at the wedding of her daughter in April 2010. She died at Colchester General Hospital in March 2013.

THE family of a woman who died at Colchester General Hospital six weeks after being admitted following a fall have launched legal action.

Hospital medics are accused of missing an abscess which partially paralysed Jean Warne, 74, leaving her unable to lift her arms and eat her food.

Her family say by the time they realised, it was too late to save her. Following an aborted attempt to give her surgery in London, she died on March 6 last year.

Daughter Melody Snowden, 51, and husband, John, have now instructed Leigh Day solicitors, to sue the hospital claiming the lack of dignity Mrs Warne received amounted to a breach of the Human Rights Act.

John, 64, said: “Jean was strong, she was feisty and her brain was working 100 per cent.

“If she had been given the right treatment and care, she wouldn’t have gone the way she went.”

Shortly after Mrs Warne retired in 2000, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy.

But the cancer returned and spread to her spine, leaving her prone to suffering falls.

Mr Snowden, of London Road, Stisted, said she would usually be checked over and released within a day.

But after being taken from her Gosfield home to Colchester General Hospital in mid-January, they decided to start looking at care homes she could move into. However, he claimed the lack of care and attention his mother-in-law was given meant she deteriorated rapidly.

He said: “She was put in a seat in the mornings and just left there.

“Throughout that period, she was getting worse and worse.

“She complained of a pain in her neck and in that time of sitting there an abscess formed in her neck, which eventually paralysed her.

“She couldn’t even raise her arms to eat her food and they would just take it away.

“She was left in her bed soiled and she was left in her seat soiled.

“You wouldn’t treat a dog like she was treated.”

Mr Snowden, a retired AA director, and his wife visited every day and said they would have to feed her themselves.

He added: “Melody went up there one day with a friend.

They walked in and Jean was in such neck pain, she was screaming out. The lady opposite said she was crying out all through the night and no one came.

“All they used to do was put her in a private room because she was keeping the other patients awake. It was disgraceful.”

On March 5, Mr and Mrs Snowden were told Mrs Warne had a suspected abscess.

Doctors told them she was too frail to survive treatment and had only days to live. However, that night they received a call telling them Mrs Warne was being taken to Romford’s Queen’s Hospital for surgery.

Mr Snowden contacted Queen’s, which told him when she arrived they almost immediately realised she was too weak to deal with the anaesthetic.

Mrs Warne was sent back to Colchester General Hospital, where she died that afternoon.

Mr Snowden said they had an initial meeting with doctors who he said admitted they should have spotted the abscess sooner and should not have sent her to Queen’s.

Afterwards, he wrote to former chief executive Dr Gordon Coutts to express his anger, and received a letter back offering a meeting. He refused and got in touch with Leigh Day solicitors.

Ten months on, Mr Snowden said his wife, who has needed time off work, was still too upset and angry to speak about her mother’s care.

The couple are now pursuing legal action. He said: “We could just sit on this and let it go, but people should know about this.

“At the end of the day, Colchester could go on doing exactly the same thing.

“I hope the hospital gets its act together. It’s not going to happen overnight, but theymust take some responsibility for the pain and suffering that they have given to patients and their families.”

A spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Trust said: “We would like to pass on our sympathy and concerns to the family of this patient following her death in March last year, and are sorry and disappointed that they have concerns.

“We received a complaint about this patient shortly after her death, which was investigated as a serious incident.

“One of her consultants met the patient’s daughter and sonin- law and apologised to the patient’s family for some aspects of her care.”

Comments (6)

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8:58am Fri 17 Jan 14

stevedawson says...

Tragic for a greiving family.cancer is not pleasant in the latter stages.the poor lady has gone to her rest now.let her rest in peace.
Tragic for a greiving family.cancer is not pleasant in the latter stages.the poor lady has gone to her rest now.let her rest in peace. stevedawson
  • Score: 2

11:06am Fri 17 Jan 14

rhetoric says...

stevedawson may well say "now let her rest in peace", but what about those still to be "treated" in hospital? Do they not deserve an investigation into this matter?
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I wonder if Steve knows how many women over 60 have answered, in a poll, that they'd rather die in their own home than go to hospital for "treatment". These are so often relatives of those who have suffered the indignity of bad care.
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Yes, there are so many good and dedicated nurses, but they fail in the way they allow rank closing over the bad "carers".
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Steve's attitude seems to be that it's ok for this woman to die, she has cancer, let it go! Well, let him sit there in agony, not the least of which is from hunger, for weeks. To treat an animal like this would draw down prosecution and a banning from keeping them in future.
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Starvation is an agonising condition.
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A prisoner in one of our jails has more rights to care and rights to redress than the elderly in our hospitals.
stevedawson may well say "now let her rest in peace", but what about those still to be "treated" in hospital? Do they not deserve an investigation into this matter? . I wonder if Steve knows how many women over 60 have answered, in a poll, that they'd rather die in their own home than go to hospital for "treatment". These are so often relatives of those who have suffered the indignity of bad care. . Yes, there are so many good and dedicated nurses, but they fail in the way they allow rank closing over the bad "carers". . Steve's attitude seems to be that it's ok for this woman to die, she has cancer, let it go! Well, let him sit there in agony, not the least of which is from hunger, for weeks. To treat an animal like this would draw down prosecution and a banning from keeping them in future. . Starvation is an agonising condition. . A prisoner in one of our jails has more rights to care and rights to redress than the elderly in our hospitals. rhetoric
  • Score: 3

4:56pm Fri 17 Jan 14

A Very Private Gentleman says...

They were warned and informed of stuff like this back in 2011, however it has been touted around the borough since way before 2008 and beyond.
Very sad to see a an OAP like Jean allegedly being treated in this way, one can only offer sincere condolences to this ghastly matter.
Those who knew this sort of thing and there must have been many, can only hang their heads in shame.
There is clearly a case of conscience here someone should have whistleblown this case or incident.
It smacks of an Im alright jack culture or turning a blind eye.
The truth has to be out there for these people someone has the answers surely?
They were warned and informed of stuff like this back in 2011, however it has been touted around the borough since way before 2008 and beyond. Very sad to see a an OAP like Jean allegedly being treated in this way, one can only offer sincere condolences to this ghastly matter. Those who knew this sort of thing and there must have been many, can only hang their heads in shame. There is clearly a case of conscience here someone should have whistleblown this case or incident. It smacks of an Im alright jack culture or turning a blind eye. The truth has to be out there for these people someone has the answers surely? A Very Private Gentleman
  • Score: 0

11:38pm Fri 17 Jan 14

lynn.dave says...

im still too distressed to comment my dad spent 3 months in there from dec 2012 till he died in march 2013 disgusting till u witness for yourself what goes on you wouldnt understand all i can say is if anyone has an elderley relative a patient in colchester have someone ther 24 7 what we witenissed still haunts us no good reporting everything is covered up karma is all i can say that nurses docs that sit 2 feet away watching this and laughing will one day experience the pain done to their family one day
im still too distressed to comment my dad spent 3 months in there from dec 2012 till he died in march 2013 disgusting till u witness for yourself what goes on you wouldnt understand all i can say is if anyone has an elderley relative a patient in colchester have someone ther 24 7 what we witenissed still haunts us no good reporting everything is covered up karma is all i can say that nurses docs that sit 2 feet away watching this and laughing will one day experience the pain done to their family one day lynn.dave
  • Score: -2

2:30am Sun 19 Jan 14

Somebusybody says...

If they knew what was going on, why not do something? I am not saying it is right by any account, but If you have the money to hire a solicitor, then why not buy her some better care? or take some time off work to help her? It is a tragedy, but there was a time when people took responsibility for their own elderly relatives. She might have at least had the comfort of her own home and family around when the moment came :(
If they knew what was going on, why not do something? I am not saying it is right by any account, but If you have the money to hire a solicitor, then why not buy her some better care? or take some time off work to help her? It is a tragedy, but there was a time when people took responsibility for their own elderly relatives. She might have at least had the comfort of her own home and family around when the moment came :( Somebusybody
  • Score: 1

5:31pm Sun 19 Jan 14

rhetoric says...

somebusybody, you obviously haven't had this sort of experience!
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There are barriers to be climbed to get full time access to a patient, and even then things are not made easy. Meanwhile if the relatives are seen as "trouble makers" then life gets even harder for them, and sometimes for the patient. All nursing and medical staff can put up glass barriers against all and any questions.
.
As to private care etc, solicitors' fees may be reckoned to be quite high, but have you any idea how much carers cost? Anyone unable to get out of bed unaided requires three visits a day by at least two carers, at a cost in one case known to me of £450 minimum per week. Everything takes time to set up, and the hospitals have barriers in place against taking patients home until care is set up "to their satisfaction", never mind that this sort of care is not being given meanwhile in the ward.
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How on earth can you say that people should be responsible in entirety for their own elderly relatives? That is sheer ignorance. If someone has cancer then they need specialised help, and if one takes a patient from the ward then that help is costly, it's a no-win situation. We must therefore fight for the services heretofore supposed to be given by the NHS to be improved, not from the point of view of surgery and drugs which are improving slowly but surely - no, it is the basic care and the respect for what life is left, that is important and has supposedly been lacking in this case.
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You rather arrogantly suppose that the family has the funds to support all the care that their beloved required. By the time they've finished, with as in my case the wrong equipment sent by the hospital and long delays to put it right, some equipment having to be purchased by the family, and so on, the carer themself is in need of respite care.
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We fight on, we try to say things which will help but not make things worse for the patient, and all the time we are brainwashed into half believing that "this cannot be happening".
.
Why not do something? I believe this family did all they could. They are not the ones whose "professional" careers are supposed to be founded on care and compassion, cleanliness and humanity. They already have the love and suffer the grief for the awful way their relative died.
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Get real, think how much we pay to these people, worth every penny and more for the excellent ones, worth nothing but prison for the inhumane and uncaring, sloppy, spiteful ones. Be aware, when you get to 70 you are nothing but "a waste of money" to keep alive where the NHS is concerned, just something for the growing scrap head of bodies.
.
I have observed such waste of money, time and resources in the many, many hours, days and weeks I spent visiting hospital wards. So many elderly people were banned from going home because "things are not in place" for their "safety", meanwhile there is hospital-contracted pneumonia, lack of food and water accessible to the patient, lack above all of sleep on any one night. No wonder people enter hospital with something the GP says "can soon be put right, but it's better done in hospital". Well, no, it's not better done there. Hang on to your own bed with your finger nails if humanly possible.
somebusybody, you obviously haven't had this sort of experience! . There are barriers to be climbed to get full time access to a patient, and even then things are not made easy. Meanwhile if the relatives are seen as "trouble makers" then life gets even harder for them, and sometimes for the patient. All nursing and medical staff can put up glass barriers against all and any questions. . As to private care etc, solicitors' fees may be reckoned to be quite high, but have you any idea how much carers cost? Anyone unable to get out of bed unaided requires three visits a day by at least two carers, at a cost in one case known to me of £450 minimum per week. Everything takes time to set up, and the hospitals have barriers in place against taking patients home until care is set up "to their satisfaction", never mind that this sort of care is not being given meanwhile in the ward. . How on earth can you say that people should be responsible in entirety for their own elderly relatives? That is sheer ignorance. If someone has cancer then they need specialised help, and if one takes a patient from the ward then that help is costly, it's a no-win situation. We must therefore fight for the services heretofore supposed to be given by the NHS to be improved, not from the point of view of surgery and drugs which are improving slowly but surely - no, it is the basic care and the respect for what life is left, that is important and has supposedly been lacking in this case. . You rather arrogantly suppose that the family has the funds to support all the care that their beloved required. By the time they've finished, with as in my case the wrong equipment sent by the hospital and long delays to put it right, some equipment having to be purchased by the family, and so on, the carer themself is in need of respite care. . We fight on, we try to say things which will help but not make things worse for the patient, and all the time we are brainwashed into half believing that "this cannot be happening". . Why not do something? I believe this family did all they could. They are not the ones whose "professional" careers are supposed to be founded on care and compassion, cleanliness and humanity. They already have the love and suffer the grief for the awful way their relative died. . Get real, think how much we pay to these people, worth every penny and more for the excellent ones, worth nothing but prison for the inhumane and uncaring, sloppy, spiteful ones. Be aware, when you get to 70 you are nothing but "a waste of money" to keep alive where the NHS is concerned, just something for the growing scrap head of bodies. . I have observed such waste of money, time and resources in the many, many hours, days and weeks I spent visiting hospital wards. So many elderly people were banned from going home because "things are not in place" for their "safety", meanwhile there is hospital-contracted pneumonia, lack of food and water accessible to the patient, lack above all of sleep on any one night. No wonder people enter hospital with something the GP says "can soon be put right, but it's better done in hospital". Well, no, it's not better done there. Hang on to your own bed with your finger nails if humanly possible. rhetoric
  • Score: 1

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