I was my mothers carer for 11 years after she had a brain haemorrhage. She improved so much after she had a shunt fitted and we were very close.
I feel like my decision played a role in her death. I partly blame myself for her death.
A week before she died I noticed her feet and legs had started to swell up and her finger tips had turned a dark blue. Her eyes had started to go jaundice and she was short of breath and confused. Because of covid restrictions we couldn’t see a doctor so my dad described the symptoms over the phone. The doctor prescribed a chest infection and gave her antibiotics and water tablets for the swelling.
Over that weekend she got worse and on the Monday morning my dad wanted to call the doctor but the surgery didn’t open until 8.30am and we would have to wait for about 3 hours to speak with anyone.
I insisted we phone for an ambulance and my dad didn’t want to. He didn’t want my mother going into hospital during covid. Eventually I persuaded him and we argued because he wanted to wait to see what the local doctor could do. I didn’t think she would last the day if we waited any longer.
When the ambulance came they were very quiet and didn’t really tell us what was wrong. After a few tests and some oxygen they took my mother to hospital. We were not allowed to go with her because of covid protocols.
Later that morning we got a call from a doctor at the emergency department who told us my mother had “partial heart failure” but had tested negative for covid.
We were told she would be placed onto an acute ward for treatment. We got another call the next day to say my mother would not keep her oxygen mask on. My dad asked if he could sit with her to encourage her to keep it on but the doctor would not allow it.
I spoke to my mother on the phone and she said to me “Sarah I’m dying” - it was all I could do to keep from crying down the phone but I kept it together and told her to keep the oxygen mask on when told to and she would be fine and would be able to come home. She sounded brighter so I was hopeful she would get better.
The following day in the afternoon my dad got a call to say my mother would be placed on end of life care. We were shocked about this decision and didn’t understand why? The nurse told my dad he could come up to say his goodbyes for just 15 minutes. I was not allowed to because the policy was just one close relative can say goodbye due to their covid protocols.
This is when we found out she had been put into a covid ward without our knowledge. We asked if she could come home but they wouldn’t let her leave. When my dad arrived he said she was sitting up and waved to him. He couldn’t understand why she was going onto end of life as she seemed much brighter. We were told that her oxygen was at 77% and needed to be at least 88% but everytime they stopped oxygen therapy her levels kept dropping.
She died the next morning in the early hours all alone. We have since found out that this hospital has a habit of putting non covid patients into covid wards. They also had scored her on what they said was a clinical frailty score that deems how much treatment a patient gets. This was introduced during covid so I believe if not for lockdown restrictions the outcome may have been different.
My mother was only 74 & I feel if I had waited for my dad to speak to the local doctor instead of insisting for an ambulance she may still be here today?
I feel guilty that I didn’t fight for her when she was in the hospital and didn’t listen to my dad and wait to speak with the local doctor at the surgery. I feel in part to blame for what happened to my mother and I cannot get over it.
I feel she was essentially euthanised. She was denied treatment for heart failure. I feel hospital just gave up on her after less than 48 hours of treatment. If not for me the outcome may have been different.