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Son's health service anger over mother's treatment

Time and date:2010-12-5 17:23:32  author:Press center9   source:Press center9  view:  comment:0
Content summary:The man says the 79-year-old faced a two-day bed wait and then tested positive for Covid-19. Guangzhou

The son of an elderly woman who tested positive for Covid-19 in hospital after a 48-hour wait for a bed has said the experience shows that something must be done about the health service.

William Ewing spoke about his concerns after his mother Emma, 79, was admitted to Belfast's Mater Hospital.

"This is a story about my mother - how many other mothers and fathers are being treated this way?" he said.

The Belfast Health Trust said it takes all complaints "very seriously".

It said it was "experiencing increased pressures on our emergency departments", where Ms Ewing faced a two-day wait, and also was "managing a significant spike in the number of staff and inpatients who are testing positive with Covid".

Mr Ewing told BBC News NI's Evening Extra programme he was compelled to speak out after hearing the story of a woman whose terminally-ill mother waited 28 hours without a bed before going to a different hospital.

He said the family called an ambulance for his mother on 13 July due to concerns about her health and that she was on a trolley at the hospital's emergency department for two days before a bed was found for her.

However, Mr Ewing - who said his mother had not contracted the virus since the pandemic began - said his family were concerned after seeing staff on the ward wearing masks and face shields.

He said a nurse told them his mother was in a side room and under no risk.

The family "wern't too happy but we were just glad she was out of the environment at A&E", Mr Ewing added.

His mother was then moved to a ward in which she was the only woman.

"My mother is registered fully blind, we have literally lost my father due to terminal cancer on 28 May this year.

"I just didn't think there was any thought into putting my mother into that ward with all men."

He said his mother was confused as to how she has now tested positive for coronavirus and that during his father Billy's illness the family had "followed all the rules".

"We made sure that we had done everything to prevent Covid coming to my mother and father's door, because of my dad's terminal illness and also my mother's age," Mr Ewing added.

"All we heard throughout the pandemic was protect the NHS, protect the elderly, protect the vulnerable, we did that.

"Someone high up in this system made a decision to put my mother, my vulnerable mother, into a ward where it's half Covid positive, half Covid negative and now my mother is testing positive for Covid."

Mr Ewing said the family cannot say exactly where his mother contracted coronavirus, but that his mother "didn't have Covid at any time through the whole pandemic" and she was testing negative during her initial days at the hospital.

"My mother was moved to the Covid wards, albeit a side room on her own, and it wasn't until 24 hours or so later that my mother tested positive."

In a statement, the Belfast Trust said that it "takes all complaints about the standard of our care very seriously" and "fully appreciate the concerns Mr Ewing has raised".

"We are currently experiencing increased pressures on our emergency departments in addition to managing a significant spike in the number of staff and inpatients who are testing positive with Covid." it added.

It said hospitals are "following all infection prevention and control guidance" and that when a patient tests positive "all appropriate measures are taken including isolating the patient and risk assessing others as possible contacts".

"We understand that any stay in hospital can be an anxious time for patients and their families and our ward staff are working extremely hard to ensure each patient receives safe and appropriate care," it added.

The trust said "every effort is taken to ensure patients are assigned to the most appropriate ward in relation to their care plan and gender but this is not always possible in the first instance and often can take a number of days to rectify as we manage activity across our sites".

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