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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The ultimate NHS indignity: Body of hospital patient left to die in corridor is ignored for hours... before staff simply drag him away

By Daily Mail Reporter

-'He went to them for help and they left him out in the corridor to die', says Peter Thompson's daughter
-Senior nurse claims it was 'the appropriate method of handling the situation'

CCTV footage shows Mr Thompson entering the hospital at 7:45pm, not long before he collapsed and died

Two heartbroken parents have slammed 'inhumane' nurses who left their dead son lying in the middle of a hospital corridor and stepped over his corpse for more than ten hours thinking he was asleep.

CCTV captured staff pulling the lifeless body of Peter Thompson along the floor like they were 'dragging the body of a dead animal'.

Today a coroner said his death was 'wholly preventable' and believes he could have survived but for the neglect of nursing staff, three of whom now face disciplinary proceedings.

41-year-old Mr Thompson had taken a cocktail of drink and drugs but instead of taking him to accident and emergency, staff at the Edale House unit at the Manchester Royal Infirmary left him sprawled on the floor, where he eventually died.

Dragged: Mr Thompson was pulled along the floor after lying in the middle of a hospital corridor and having nurses stepping over his corpse for more than TEN hours thinking he was asleep

The discovery of the footage has left his family devastated about the indignity of their son's death in April last year.

Mr Thompson's father Alan, 60, said: 'Seeing your own flesh and blood being dragged across the floor like a dead animal is heartbreaking.

'It was just inhumane what they did to our Peter and I just cannot understand how in this day and age this can be allowed to happen on a hospital corridor in the 21st Century.

'I can never ever forgive these people for what little they did - no matter what.'

Mother Rene, 59, said: 'I wish the staff had phoned us to say he was at the hospital. We'd have been down there and at least we'd have been there for him. He'd have had us there with him - we didn't even have a chance to say goodbye to him.'

Mr Thompson's daughter Carly, 23, said: 'I just didn't realise the extent of the neglect they had shown to my dad until this week.

Lifeless: Mr Thompson is dragged along the corridor for some distance outside the ward where he was left lying for ten hours

Panic: Staff suddenly realise that the neglected man was in fact dead and not asleep. It was too late

'He went to them for help and they left him out in the corridor to die cold, wet and lonely with nothing. I'm disgusted at their treatment of him.'

The incident occurred between April 3 and 4 last year after Mr Thompson, a voluntary in-patient with alcohol and drug problems, was stopped from entering his ward after he turned up with a bottle of vodka and refused to surrender it.

He then fell asleep in the corridor at around 8.10pm after nurses decided to let him 'sleep off' the effects of the alcohol.

But rather than wake him up or move him, a member of staff just placed a towel next to the patient and he was not given a blanket or a pillow.

Instead nurses and managers were forced to step over Mr Thompson to get into the Grafton ward.

Senior nurse Helen De Lacy-Leacey said she alerted night staff that the patient was outside the doors of the ward and asked them to: 'keep an eye on him and make sure he is okay'.

But she ended her shift at 9.15pm and did not try to wake Mr Thompson to carry out a risk assessment of his condition.

Distraught parents Alan Thompson and Rene Thompson say they can 'never ever forgive these people for what little they did' to their son Peter Thompson

And night manager Steve Soobhug said leaving him to sleep outside was 'the appropriate method of handling the situation at the time'.

Fellow senior staff nurse Miss Dini Oyebadejo said she checked on the patient several more times overnight but discovered him 'stiff' at 6.15am and raised the alarm.

When asked of he believed it was dangerous to leave Mr Thompson in his condition, she replied: 'It could have been dangerous yes. I was concerned about the patient but I felt he needed to sleep.
I didn't want him to leave the ward.'

Mr Thompson formerly of Levenshulme, Manchester was declared dead at 6.43am.

Expert Dr Alan Fletcher a consultant in emergency medicine concluded the victim would have lived had he been taken to an A&E during the night.

A pathologist report concluded he died from fatal levels of alcohol and anti-psychotic drugs, with liver cirrhosis as a contributing factor.

He was four times over the drink-drive limit.

After hearing the jury's verdict, Manchester coroner Nigel Meadows told the inquest: 'It seems to me undeniable that the jury came to a conclusion the death was wholly preventable.'

He will now write to Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, responsible for Edale House laying out recommendations and will also inform the Nursing and Midwifery Council calling for investigation into three of the nurses involved.

Nadia Kerr, partner at Pannone solicitors who represented the family, said: 'This is a shocking indictment on the care standards provided by the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust.

'Peter Thompson was a voluntary patient who was aware he had problems but was trying to address them.

'The apology given during this inquest and the written apology from the Trust go some way to acknowledging that Mr Thompson could and should have been treated more appropriately and with the dignity that was sadly lacking throughout this whole episode.

'We have now agreed compensation for Mr Thompson's family, but no amount of money can ever compensate them for their sad loss.'

Tragedy: Peter Thompson's parents, Renee and Alan Thompson, give an emotional interview to ITV's Daybreak about their son's death and the coroner's verdict

A Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust spokesman said: 'We would like to apologise to Peter Thompson's family and friends and express our deep regret about the circumstances of his death.

'This was an isolated incident and does not reflect the high levels of care and dignity with which we treat our service users. On this occasion we fell short of our usual high standard and we are very sorry about this.

'Following the incident we completed a thorough review of the case and produced a detailed action plan. Mr Thompson's family were given a copy of this review and have been kept informed of the process as it developed.'



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