HORRENDOUS BATTLE: NHS Trust ‘accept liability’ after the death of Burnley gran

Sheila Harvey, who died

Sheila Harvey, who died

First published in News Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

THE family of a grandmother-of-four from Burnley have spoken of their ‘horrendous’ battle with hospital chiefs after she died of kidney failure.

NHS chiefs have admitted liability over the death of Sheila Rose Harvey, 71, who suffered from severe dehydration before her death at the Royal Blackburn Hospital in February 2012.

Her three daughters were told if she had been properly assessed, just over a week previously, and there had been specialist intervention, then she may have survived.

Heather Harvey, who has been campaigning for more than two years, said: “We just want people to know that you need to question medical advice because we all take on board what they say and it’s been awful, horrendous for us.”

Sheila, who lived in Reed Street, Burnley, was admitted to Olive House in Bacup, run by social services, after suffering a fall at home, which saw her break two ribs and suffer a back injury.

But two days after her admission, she was admitted to the Blackburn hospital with double pneumonia and kidney damage before being returned to Olive House after two weeks.

Heather said her mother was still in ‘a lot of pain’ and they were repeatedly told by her GP and a visiting nurse that she was suffering from dehydration – but they say she was not placed on a course of treatment.

Blood tests were carried out following another GP visit and it was found she was suffering from kidney failure and was returned to hospital.

She was transferred to intensive care, also suffering from a reaction to an anti-diabetes drug, and placed on dialysis but died a short time later. In a letter to the family in April, the trust stated: “It is submitted that had Ms Harvey been assessed as requested by (a doctor) on 23 January 2012 and input/output charts kept and had she been referred for earlier specialist intervention, then on the balance of probabilities, Ms Harvey would have responded to treatment and therefore may have survived.”

Christine Pearson, the hospital trust’s chief nurse, said: “We would like to express our sincere condolences to the family of Ms Harvey following her passing and the trust has accepted liability in this case.

“We sincerely apologise to the family. The trust reviews all incidents and legal claims made to ensure that lessons are learned and necessary improvements are made.”

Before falling ill Sheila, whose other two daughters are Ruth, 51, and Denise, 42, was a regular volunteer at Burnley Methodist Church and lived independently.

The family received an out-of-court settlement.

Comments (9)

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3:19pm Tue 15 Jul 14

noddy57 says...

The N H S is failing in its basic care for these patients and in this day and age that is unacceptable.
The N H S is failing in its basic care for these patients and in this day and age that is unacceptable. noddy57
  • Score: 17

4:37pm Tue 15 Jul 14

kateash says...

It's ok saying how sorry they are but what are they doing about it.. As recently as a few months ago the same happened to someone I know ! Fluid balance charts are not kept even if the patient is on restricted fluids.. Even when it is pointed out to them. Nurses today do not know how important fluid balance charts are. There is also a total reliance on the inexperienced Health Care Assistant doing the nurses jobs and filling them in to save the Trust money ! They also have no idea and I question if it is their job as if a Health Care Assistant makes a mistakes she is not answerable to any Governing body !! How the Trust have got out of special measures is beyond me ! I could give many examples of poor care at East Lancs .. If you know someone in hospital find your voices and speak out on their behalf if the care is unacceptable before it becomes too late!!!
It's ok saying how sorry they are but what are they doing about it.. As recently as a few months ago the same happened to someone I know ! Fluid balance charts are not kept even if the patient is on restricted fluids.. Even when it is pointed out to them. Nurses today do not know how important fluid balance charts are. There is also a total reliance on the inexperienced Health Care Assistant doing the nurses jobs and filling them in to save the Trust money ! They also have no idea and I question if it is their job as if a Health Care Assistant makes a mistakes she is not answerable to any Governing body !! How the Trust have got out of special measures is beyond me ! I could give many examples of poor care at East Lancs .. If you know someone in hospital find your voices and speak out on their behalf if the care is unacceptable before it becomes too late!!! kateash
  • Score: 2

5:56pm Tue 15 Jul 14

mrsyetagain says...

kateash wrote:
It's ok saying how sorry they are but what are they doing about it.. As recently as a few months ago the same happened to someone I know ! Fluid balance charts are not kept even if the patient is on restricted fluids.. Even when it is pointed out to them. Nurses today do not know how important fluid balance charts are. There is also a total reliance on the inexperienced Health Care Assistant doing the nurses jobs and filling them in to save the Trust money ! They also have no idea and I question if it is their job as if a Health Care Assistant makes a mistakes she is not answerable to any Governing body !! How the Trust have got out of special measures is beyond me ! I could give many examples of poor care at East Lancs .. If you know someone in hospital find your voices and speak out on their behalf if the care is unacceptable before it becomes too late!!!
So this refers to all nurses does it? I'm a Nurse and I DO know the importance of fluid balance charts and also update them regularly regardless of whether my patient is on a fluid restriction. Also, Health Care Assistants are as it says in the title - Assistants - trained to ASSIST Nurses NOT do their jobs as you incorrectly stated above. When a Nurse delegates a duty to a Health Care Assistant - which would only be done if within their capabilities and understanding - then that Nurse is responsible for the actions and outcomes resulting. I did not choose to be a Nurse in order to abuse or neglect patients - nor did I choose to be a Nurse to see my position slated in the tabloids daily. Most hospital wards are understaffed and Nurses are caring for upto 14 patients themselves. Often working 12 hour shifts with less than 1 hour break throughout the day. I am not saying that mistakes do not happen - as they do but I notice that more and more elderly people are being admitted into hospital as a result of dehydration from 'Care Homes'. Many of the people in these Care Homes are on minimum wage with no training and have no idea how to ensure adequate fluid intake in order to prevent admission to the 'dreaded hospital' in the first place. It would be a boost to see some of the stories of the thousands of patients happy with their treatment - then again it doesn't make for 'news' does it.
[quote][p][bold]kateash[/bold] wrote: It's ok saying how sorry they are but what are they doing about it.. As recently as a few months ago the same happened to someone I know ! Fluid balance charts are not kept even if the patient is on restricted fluids.. Even when it is pointed out to them. Nurses today do not know how important fluid balance charts are. There is also a total reliance on the inexperienced Health Care Assistant doing the nurses jobs and filling them in to save the Trust money ! They also have no idea and I question if it is their job as if a Health Care Assistant makes a mistakes she is not answerable to any Governing body !! How the Trust have got out of special measures is beyond me ! I could give many examples of poor care at East Lancs .. If you know someone in hospital find your voices and speak out on their behalf if the care is unacceptable before it becomes too late!!![/p][/quote]So this refers to all nurses does it? I'm a Nurse and I DO know the importance of fluid balance charts and also update them regularly regardless of whether my patient is on a fluid restriction. Also, Health Care Assistants are as it says in the title - Assistants - trained to ASSIST Nurses NOT do their jobs as you incorrectly stated above. When a Nurse delegates a duty to a Health Care Assistant - which would only be done if within their capabilities and understanding - then that Nurse is responsible for the actions and outcomes resulting. I did not choose to be a Nurse in order to abuse or neglect patients - nor did I choose to be a Nurse to see my position slated in the tabloids daily. Most hospital wards are understaffed and Nurses are caring for upto 14 patients themselves. Often working 12 hour shifts with less than 1 hour break throughout the day. I am not saying that mistakes do not happen - as they do but I notice that more and more elderly people are being admitted into hospital as a result of dehydration from 'Care Homes'. Many of the people in these Care Homes are on minimum wage with no training and have no idea how to ensure adequate fluid intake in order to prevent admission to the 'dreaded hospital' in the first place. It would be a boost to see some of the stories of the thousands of patients happy with their treatment - then again it doesn't make for 'news' does it. mrsyetagain
  • Score: 17

7:07pm Tue 15 Jul 14

Lancs-lass10 says...

Couldn't have put it better myself Kateash very well said!
Couldn't have put it better myself Kateash very well said! Lancs-lass10
  • Score: -1

9:08pm Tue 15 Jul 14

Allyouneedislove says...

I don't see that this is a personal attack on the nursing care as we all know nurses are under immense pressure! This article is stating that the lady was discharged from hospital too early (surely a decision of a doctor?). . . Into a home which couldn't provide nursing care as I understand it's a rehabilitation/step down home, therefore another poor discharge descision from east lancs trust. . . And then the home failing to give adequate care? I mean 3 times a diagnosis of dehydration (on a diabetic patient) from a GP visit to the home, not followed up until finally getting admitted; when it was too late to give treatment to give this lady to recover! . . . Amongst other short fallings which probably haven't been mentioned in the newspaper!

There's probably lots of other instances with lots of patients (discharged too early) in similar circumstances! It is not wrong to question our health care system! If awareness of NHS pressures is not highlighted by its services users, how can improvements be made?

The people we should be pointing the finger at is this government! They're the ones who are damaging our health service and making dangerous cuts and increasing pressures on its workers!!!! Look at the bigger picture guys! Tell your local MP about your worries and concerns!
I don't see that this is a personal attack on the nursing care as we all know nurses are under immense pressure! This article is stating that the lady was discharged from hospital too early (surely a decision of a doctor?). . . Into a home which couldn't provide nursing care as I understand it's a rehabilitation/step down home, therefore another poor discharge descision from east lancs trust. . . And then the home failing to give adequate care? I mean 3 times a diagnosis of dehydration (on a diabetic patient) from a GP visit to the home, not followed up until finally getting admitted; when it was too late to give treatment to give this lady to recover! . . . Amongst other short fallings which probably haven't been mentioned in the newspaper! There's probably lots of other instances with lots of patients (discharged too early) in similar circumstances! It is not wrong to question our health care system! If awareness of NHS pressures is not highlighted by its services users, how can improvements be made? The people we should be pointing the finger at is this government! They're the ones who are damaging our health service and making dangerous cuts and increasing pressures on its workers!!!! Look at the bigger picture guys! Tell your local MP about your worries and concerns! Allyouneedislove
  • Score: 1

10:12pm Tue 15 Jul 14

blackburne67 says...

mrsyetagain wrote:
kateash wrote:
It's ok saying how sorry they are but what are they doing about it.. As recently as a few months ago the same happened to someone I know ! Fluid balance charts are not kept even if the patient is on restricted fluids.. Even when it is pointed out to them. Nurses today do not know how important fluid balance charts are. There is also a total reliance on the inexperienced Health Care Assistant doing the nurses jobs and filling them in to save the Trust money ! They also have no idea and I question if it is their job as if a Health Care Assistant makes a mistakes she is not answerable to any Governing body !! How the Trust have got out of special measures is beyond me ! I could give many examples of poor care at East Lancs .. If you know someone in hospital find your voices and speak out on their behalf if the care is unacceptable before it becomes too late!!!
So this refers to all nurses does it? I'm a Nurse and I DO know the importance of fluid balance charts and also update them regularly regardless of whether my patient is on a fluid restriction. Also, Health Care Assistants are as it says in the title - Assistants - trained to ASSIST Nurses NOT do their jobs as you incorrectly stated above. When a Nurse delegates a duty to a Health Care Assistant - which would only be done if within their capabilities and understanding - then that Nurse is responsible for the actions and outcomes resulting. I did not choose to be a Nurse in order to abuse or neglect patients - nor did I choose to be a Nurse to see my position slated in the tabloids daily. Most hospital wards are understaffed and Nurses are caring for upto 14 patients themselves. Often working 12 hour shifts with less than 1 hour break throughout the day. I am not saying that mistakes do not happen - as they do but I notice that more and more elderly people are being admitted into hospital as a result of dehydration from 'Care Homes'. Many of the people in these Care Homes are on minimum wage with no training and have no idea how to ensure adequate fluid intake in order to prevent admission to the 'dreaded hospital' in the first place. It would be a boost to see some of the stories of the thousands of patients happy with their treatment - then again it doesn't make for 'news' does it.
Well said.Im a nurse assistant( or HCA )You have said everything ive said in our defence before on these negative & nasty comments.In fact quite often go without breaks on a regular basis to do are duty.It quite often feels like im being kicked in the teeth esp when morale is low.Like you say of all the good we do & do get appreciated by the majority of patients & relatives it never really gets much publicity of any kind . Unfortunately & sad but true good news doesn't seem to sell many newspapers.This comment is from a very caring, very hard working, very capable & very proud HCA & im bigging up all the NHS staff throughoutvthe UK :D
[quote][p][bold]mrsyetagain[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]kateash[/bold] wrote: It's ok saying how sorry they are but what are they doing about it.. As recently as a few months ago the same happened to someone I know ! Fluid balance charts are not kept even if the patient is on restricted fluids.. Even when it is pointed out to them. Nurses today do not know how important fluid balance charts are. There is also a total reliance on the inexperienced Health Care Assistant doing the nurses jobs and filling them in to save the Trust money ! They also have no idea and I question if it is their job as if a Health Care Assistant makes a mistakes she is not answerable to any Governing body !! How the Trust have got out of special measures is beyond me ! I could give many examples of poor care at East Lancs .. If you know someone in hospital find your voices and speak out on their behalf if the care is unacceptable before it becomes too late!!![/p][/quote]So this refers to all nurses does it? I'm a Nurse and I DO know the importance of fluid balance charts and also update them regularly regardless of whether my patient is on a fluid restriction. Also, Health Care Assistants are as it says in the title - Assistants - trained to ASSIST Nurses NOT do their jobs as you incorrectly stated above. When a Nurse delegates a duty to a Health Care Assistant - which would only be done if within their capabilities and understanding - then that Nurse is responsible for the actions and outcomes resulting. I did not choose to be a Nurse in order to abuse or neglect patients - nor did I choose to be a Nurse to see my position slated in the tabloids daily. Most hospital wards are understaffed and Nurses are caring for upto 14 patients themselves. Often working 12 hour shifts with less than 1 hour break throughout the day. I am not saying that mistakes do not happen - as they do but I notice that more and more elderly people are being admitted into hospital as a result of dehydration from 'Care Homes'. Many of the people in these Care Homes are on minimum wage with no training and have no idea how to ensure adequate fluid intake in order to prevent admission to the 'dreaded hospital' in the first place. It would be a boost to see some of the stories of the thousands of patients happy with their treatment - then again it doesn't make for 'news' does it.[/p][/quote]Well said.Im a nurse assistant( or HCA )You have said everything ive said in our defence before on these negative & nasty comments.In fact quite often go without breaks on a regular basis to do are duty.It quite often feels like im being kicked in the teeth esp when morale is low.Like you say of all the good we do & do get appreciated by the majority of patients & relatives it never really gets much publicity of any kind . Unfortunately & sad but true good news doesn't seem to sell many newspapers.This comment is from a very caring, very hard working, very capable & very proud HCA & im bigging up all the NHS staff throughoutvthe UK :D blackburne67
  • Score: 6

10:18pm Tue 15 Jul 14

blackburne67 says...

Well said.Im a nurse assistant( or HCA )You have said everything ive said in our defence before on these negative & nasty comments.In fact quite often go without breaks on a regular basis to do are duty.It quite often feels like im being kicked in the teeth esp when morale is low.Like you say of all the good we do & do get appreciated by the majority of patients & relatives it never really gets much publicity of any kind . Unfortunately & sad but true good news doesn't seem to sell many newspapers.This comment is from a very caring, very hard working, very capable & very proud HCA & im bigging up all the NHS staff throughoutvthe UK :D
Well said.Im a nurse assistant( or HCA )You have said everything ive said in our defence before on these negative & nasty comments.In fact quite often go without breaks on a regular basis to do are duty.It quite often feels like im being kicked in the teeth esp when morale is low.Like you say of all the good we do & do get appreciated by the majority of patients & relatives it never really gets much publicity of any kind . Unfortunately & sad but true good news doesn't seem to sell many newspapers.This comment is from a very caring, very hard working, very capable & very proud HCA & im bigging up all the NHS staff throughoutvthe UK :D blackburne67
  • Score: 3

10:54pm Tue 15 Jul 14

kateash says...

blackburne67 wrote:
mrsyetagain wrote:
kateash wrote:
It's ok saying how sorry they are but what are they doing about it.. As recently as a few months ago the same happened to someone I know ! Fluid balance charts are not kept even if the patient is on restricted fluids.. Even when it is pointed out to them. Nurses today do not know how important fluid balance charts are. There is also a total reliance on the inexperienced Health Care Assistant doing the nurses jobs and filling them in to save the Trust money ! They also have no idea and I question if it is their job as if a Health Care Assistant makes a mistakes she is not answerable to any Governing body !! How the Trust have got out of special measures is beyond me ! I could give many examples of poor care at East Lancs .. If you know someone in hospital find your voices and speak out on their behalf if the care is unacceptable before it becomes too late!!!
So this refers to all nurses does it? I'm a Nurse and I DO know the importance of fluid balance charts and also update them regularly regardless of whether my patient is on a fluid restriction. Also, Health Care Assistants are as it says in the title - Assistants - trained to ASSIST Nurses NOT do their jobs as you incorrectly stated above. When a Nurse delegates a duty to a Health Care Assistant - which would only be done if within their capabilities and understanding - then that Nurse is responsible for the actions and outcomes resulting. I did not choose to be a Nurse in order to abuse or neglect patients - nor did I choose to be a Nurse to see my position slated in the tabloids daily. Most hospital wards are understaffed and Nurses are caring for upto 14 patients themselves. Often working 12 hour shifts with less than 1 hour break throughout the day. I am not saying that mistakes do not happen - as they do but I notice that more and more elderly people are being admitted into hospital as a result of dehydration from 'Care Homes'. Many of the people in these Care Homes are on minimum wage with no training and have no idea how to ensure adequate fluid intake in order to prevent admission to the 'dreaded hospital' in the first place. It would be a boost to see some of the stories of the thousands of patients happy with their treatment - then again it doesn't make for 'news' does it.
Well said.Im a nurse assistant( or HCA )You have said everything ive said in our defence before on these negative & nasty comments.In fact quite often go without breaks on a regular basis to do are duty.It quite often feels like im being kicked in the teeth esp when morale is low.Like you say of all the good we do & do get appreciated by the majority of patients & relatives it never really gets much publicity of any kind . Unfortunately & sad but true good news doesn't seem to sell many newspapers.This comment is from a very caring, very hard working, very capable & very proud HCA & im bigging up all the NHS staff throughoutvthe UK :D
I too am a nurse! Nurses do not receive adequate training now. I have seen them work in clinics , in the community and I have seen some even complete a work book instead of doing a placement ! Not much time spent on wards. Training is in a University which is far removed from the hospital. Any training on the wards is from a lot of inexperienced staff as many experienced staff have left or retired as they have had enough! Once trained it is sink or swim and I agree morale is low and lack of staff is widespread but mistakes should not happen as they are costly . From a relatives point of view I have had to badger staff about many aspects of care for a relative that are very basic from both nurses and doctors.. I know what care should be given and I shouldn't have to fight to get it ! What about the patients who have no one to be their advocate. I have done 12 hour shifts with no breaks and then got off very late but that is the nature of the job. You may know the importance of a fluid balance chart but I have seen many which have not even been touched . The list is endless about the poor care I have seen ! Yes I agree not everyone is the same and I agree managers have a lot to answer for and there is a shortage of staff but we have a duty of care to give our patients the best care possible and sometimes this is seriously lacking .
[quote][p][bold]blackburne67[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mrsyetagain[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]kateash[/bold] wrote: It's ok saying how sorry they are but what are they doing about it.. As recently as a few months ago the same happened to someone I know ! Fluid balance charts are not kept even if the patient is on restricted fluids.. Even when it is pointed out to them. Nurses today do not know how important fluid balance charts are. There is also a total reliance on the inexperienced Health Care Assistant doing the nurses jobs and filling them in to save the Trust money ! They also have no idea and I question if it is their job as if a Health Care Assistant makes a mistakes she is not answerable to any Governing body !! How the Trust have got out of special measures is beyond me ! I could give many examples of poor care at East Lancs .. If you know someone in hospital find your voices and speak out on their behalf if the care is unacceptable before it becomes too late!!![/p][/quote]So this refers to all nurses does it? I'm a Nurse and I DO know the importance of fluid balance charts and also update them regularly regardless of whether my patient is on a fluid restriction. Also, Health Care Assistants are as it says in the title - Assistants - trained to ASSIST Nurses NOT do their jobs as you incorrectly stated above. When a Nurse delegates a duty to a Health Care Assistant - which would only be done if within their capabilities and understanding - then that Nurse is responsible for the actions and outcomes resulting. I did not choose to be a Nurse in order to abuse or neglect patients - nor did I choose to be a Nurse to see my position slated in the tabloids daily. Most hospital wards are understaffed and Nurses are caring for upto 14 patients themselves. Often working 12 hour shifts with less than 1 hour break throughout the day. I am not saying that mistakes do not happen - as they do but I notice that more and more elderly people are being admitted into hospital as a result of dehydration from 'Care Homes'. Many of the people in these Care Homes are on minimum wage with no training and have no idea how to ensure adequate fluid intake in order to prevent admission to the 'dreaded hospital' in the first place. It would be a boost to see some of the stories of the thousands of patients happy with their treatment - then again it doesn't make for 'news' does it.[/p][/quote]Well said.Im a nurse assistant( or HCA )You have said everything ive said in our defence before on these negative & nasty comments.In fact quite often go without breaks on a regular basis to do are duty.It quite often feels like im being kicked in the teeth esp when morale is low.Like you say of all the good we do & do get appreciated by the majority of patients & relatives it never really gets much publicity of any kind . Unfortunately & sad but true good news doesn't seem to sell many newspapers.This comment is from a very caring, very hard working, very capable & very proud HCA & im bigging up all the NHS staff throughoutvthe UK :D[/p][/quote]I too am a nurse! Nurses do not receive adequate training now. I have seen them work in clinics , in the community and I have seen some even complete a work book instead of doing a placement ! Not much time spent on wards. Training is in a University which is far removed from the hospital. Any training on the wards is from a lot of inexperienced staff as many experienced staff have left or retired as they have had enough! Once trained it is sink or swim and I agree morale is low and lack of staff is widespread but mistakes should not happen as they are costly . From a relatives point of view I have had to badger staff about many aspects of care for a relative that are very basic from both nurses and doctors.. I know what care should be given and I shouldn't have to fight to get it ! What about the patients who have no one to be their advocate. I have done 12 hour shifts with no breaks and then got off very late but that is the nature of the job. You may know the importance of a fluid balance chart but I have seen many which have not even been touched . The list is endless about the poor care I have seen ! Yes I agree not everyone is the same and I agree managers have a lot to answer for and there is a shortage of staff but we have a duty of care to give our patients the best care possible and sometimes this is seriously lacking . kateash
  • Score: 1

3:46am Sat 19 Jul 14

noddy57 says...

Its not the nurses fault its the system its self. Its not fit for purpose.
Its not the nurses fault its the system its self. Its not fit for purpose. noddy57
  • Score: 0

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