Home / NEWS /  ‘He wasn’t in there to die, he was in there to recover’: Families of Gosport victims speak out

 ‘He wasn’t in there to die, he was in there to recover’: Families of Gosport victims speak out

As the Gosport report was released today, into the suspicious deaths of elderly people which occurred at the notorious hospital, families of the victims have spoken out.

Many said their relatives were happy and relatively healthy before being given an excessive amount of pain relief – after which, they fell unconscious, never to wake up.

Here are some of their stories.

The ‘jolly, smiley’ 65-year-old who was recovering from a ‘mini-stroke’

The family of a suspected Gosport victim has called for prosecutions over the death of their father, who they say was recovering from a “mini-stroke” aged 65 when he rapidly and suspiciously died under the care of the notorious hospital.

The Gosport Independent Panel is to present the findings of its investigation, first launched in 2014, with relatives of those who died demanding tough action.

The inquiry was established to address concerns about the deaths of a number of elderly patients at the hospital in Hampshire between 1988 and 2000.

Cindy Grant said her “jolly, smiley” father Stanley Carby, died at the South Hampshire hospital in 1999 after being admitted for rehabilitation following a stroke.

She said the family was baffled at his sudden death, because he was admitted in relatively good health and appeared happy and energetic hours before he slipped into a comatose state.

Ms Grant told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “[The night before he died] He was joking and laughing, he was asking our younger brother to put a bet on the horses for him…he was in good spirits. The next morning we were due to get some fruit and that to take in to see him, but then we got a phone call at 10am saying would we like to come into the hospital because Dad’s took a turn for the worse.

“When we got there he was in a private room on his own, he was unconscious, he wasn’t talking or co-operating at all. It was a shock to see him like that to be honest because he had had visitors late that night. We couldn’t understand why he was in a room on his own, he just looked like he was in a coma, he wasn’t talking, his breathing was really shallow.”

An hour and a half after this, she said, her father died. Ms Grant claims the hospital told her he had deterorated, and that she spoke to Dr Jane Barton, who later voluntarily resigned after a 2010 GMC probe found Barton guilty of serious professional misconduct.

 Dr Jane Barton at Portsmouth Crown Court in 2009

Credit:
Chris Ison/PA Wire

Ms Grant alleged that when she asked if her father was going to die, Dr Barton told her: “Well, you’ve just got to let nature take its course,” and that she would make him “comfortable.”

She said she hopes there are prosecutions over the suspicious deaths, telling the programme: “I think there is somebody that needs to be prosecuted for what’s gone on there.

“We want justice to be served because these families’ lives were taken – mums, dads, grandads, grandmas.

“We all know what went on at that hospital. We want justice served.”

The mother who expected two weeks of recuperation – as a doctor planned for her death

In 1999, Peggy Coates was aged 76 and lived at home with her son. She attended the hospital for an expected two weeks of recuperation and intensive nursing after suffering a stroke.

However, despite the fact it was expected she would recover, Dr Jane Barton wrote: “Please make comfortable … I am happy for my staff to confirm death.”

The panel commented: “It is not clear to the Panel why Dr Barton noted on Mrs Coates’s admission to the hospital: ‘Please make comfortable’ and ‘I am happy for my staff to confirm death’. According to the records, the plan was that Mrs Coates would be rehabilitated and return home.”

When admitted, Mrs Coates had been prescribed paracetomol by her previous hospital, and although “sometimes confused”, she was able to feed herself.

Just over a month later, on the 13th July, she was given a syringe driver of strong opiates as prescribed in late June by Dr Jane Barton.

On the 15th July, doses for each of the components of the syringe driver medication were doubled. At 09:15, a syringe driver containing diamorphine 40 mg, midazolam 40 mg and hyoscine 800 micrograms was commenced.

She died at 5.30pm that day. 

The panel commented: “The Panel has found no document to confirm the rationale for the administration and doubling of the dose of diamorphine, midazolam and hyoscine on 15 July. The Panel has not seen any document in the medical records to confirm that diamorphine, midazolam and hyoscine were clinically indicated on 15 July.”

Gladys Richards was recovering from a hip replacement at Gosport – where she died days after being admitted

Gladys Richards was aged 91 in 1998 and resident in a nursing home. She had severe dementia, but was mobile and settled most of the time, according to her carers.

After a fall, she dislocated her right hip, and was given a hip replacement, and was recovering for it at Gosport hospital.

Her doctors from Haslar hospital were hoping she would get back on her feet after some recuperation at Gosport, and wrote in her notes: “despite her dementia she should be given the opportunity to try to re-mobilise.” 

Dr Barton wrote in the records as she was admitted: not obviously in pain please make comfortable … I am happy for nursing staff to confirm death.”

Mrs Richards died days later.

Gladys Richards ‘enjoyed a cup of tea’

Credit:
 Solent News & Photo Agency

The panel commented: “It is not clear from the medical records why Dr Barton requested that Mrs Richards be ‘made comfortable’ (be treated palliatively) and noted that she was ‘happy for nursing staff to confirm death’ in circumstances where Dr Reid had decided Mrs Richards should be given the opportunity to remobilise.”

She was transferred to Gosport on 11 August. She was not fully weight bearing; however, she was walking with the aid of two nurses and a Zimmer frame, and needed help with washing and dressing, as well as eating and drinkings. However, she enjoyed a cup of tea. Her recommended drug treatment on transfer to the hospital was haloperidol suspension, lactulose and co-codamol.

Dr Barton wrote prescriptions for strong opiates that day; a prescription for morphine oral solution 2.5–5 ml (5–10 mg morphine) every four hours as required, and diamorphine 20–200 mg, hyoscine 200–800 micrograms and midazolam 20–80 mg to be administered by subcutaneous infusion over 24 hours. On 12 August, Dr Barton wrote further prescriptions for morphine oral solution 2.5–5 ml (5–10 mg morphine) every four hours and 5 ml (10 mg morphine) in the evening as required. Three doses of morphine oral solution 10 mg were administered to Mrs Richards on 11 and 12 August.

She then had a fall on the 13th August, and was transferred to Haslar Hospital for two days. The hospital wrote to Gosport that she was “fully weight bearing” and encouraged nurses to help her move while in bed. When she was transferred back to Gosport on the 17th, she was given more morphine.

The next morning, Dr Barton assessed Mrs Richards and noted, “still in great pain, nursing a problem I suggest s.c. diamorphine / haloperidol / midazolam … please make comfortable”.

On 18 August, at 11:45, the administration of diamorphine 40 mg, haloperidol 5 mg and midazolam 20 mg was commenced by syringe driver. The daily administration of these drugs, plus hyoscine, by syringe driver continued until 21 August, when Mrs Richards died.

The panel wrote: “The administration of diamorphine 40 mg over 24 hours by syringe driver in a patient who had received 45 mg of morphine oral solution in the previous 24 hours constitutes more than double the effective dose of morphine. The Panel can find no justification in the clinical records for this increase in dosage.”

The 88-year-old given powerful sedatives that contributed to her death

Elsie Devine, 88, from Fareham, was admitted to the hospital in 1999 with confusion and kidney problems.

She was independent and self-caring, and lived at home with her her daughter and her family, where she did her own cooking and cleaning, until she was admitted to Gosport after experiencing kidney problems.

Her notes showed she had been sitting up and chatting happily, but she was given powerful sedatives, lost consciousness and never recovered.

Elsie Devine

Credit:
Solent News & Photo Agency

In 2009, an inquest found the drugs she had been given were not appropriate for her condition and had contributed to her death.

The plan was to arrange for Mrs Devine to visit her home twice weekly to see her family and to assess if she would function better in her own home, but after she was found to be “aggressive”, she was prescribed fentanyl. 

The next day , Dr Barton assessed Mrs Devine and noted: “marked deterioration … condition needs subcutaneous analgesia with midazolam. Son seen and aware of condition and diagnosis. Please make comfortable; I’m happy for nursing staff to confirm death.”

Mrs Devine was given a syringe driver containing Diamorphine 40mg and Midazolam 40mg. She died three days later, while still having the drugs administered via the syringe driver.

The widower who never returned to his nursing home

79-year-old widower Arthur Cunningham was admitted to Gosport on 21 September 1998 for treatment on a sacral sore. He was expected to return to his nursing home. On 26 September, Mr Cunningham died.

When he was admitted to Gosport, Dr Jane Barton,  recorded in the clinical notes: “Transfer to Dryad Ward. Make comfortable. Give adequate analgesia. I am happy for nursing staff to confirm death.” 

Arthur Cunningham pictured with his wife Rhoda.

Credit:
Collect/PA Wire

Mr Cunningham was given a syringe driver shortly after he arrived.

Dr Barton  prescribed diamorphine 20–200 mg, midazolam 20–80 mg, hyoscine 200–800 micrograms, subcutaneously, as required, over 24 hours. At 23:10, 20 mg of diamorphine and 20 mg of midazolam were administered by continuous subcutaneous infusion.

On the 23rd , the clinical records note that Mr Cunningham’s son was “very angry that syringe driver has been commenced … now fully aware that [Mr Cunningham] is dying and needs to be made comfortable”. 

The strong drugs were increased daily, until he died. 

The panel wrote: “The Panel has not seen any document in the clinical records to confirm the rationale for the three-fold increase in the dose of midazolam commenced at 20:00 on 23 September.”

It also was concerned that it had “not seen any document in the clinical records to confirm that nurses engaged in any adequate end of life care discussion with Mr Cunningham’s family.”

Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/20/wasnt-die-recover-family-gosport-victim-calls-prosecutions/

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