December 6, 2012

My husband "died like a battery hen" in the hospital

Senior MP Ann Clwyd gives a harrowing account of her dying husband’s poor treatment in hospital, saying: “He died like a battery hen.”

Ann Clwyd broke down as she spoke about the final moments of Owen Roberts, who contracted pneumonia after being admitted. They had been married nearly 50 years….  “Nobody, nobody should have to die in conditions like I saw my husband die in,” she said during a radio interview.
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Ms Clwyd, 75, was called in at 5am on the morning of the day he died.

“He didn’t have any clothes over him. He was half-covered by two very thin, inadequate sheets, his feet were sticking out of the bed at an angle," she told BBC Radio 4's World at One.

“It was extremely cold and I tried to cover him with a towel. He was very distressed, totally aware of his situation. Although unable to speak because of the oxygen mask he let us know he was cold and that he wanted to come home.”

Ms Clwyd said she had seen a nurse’s round once between 2.30pm and 10.30pm on the previous day.

“I stopped one nurse in the corridor and asked why he was not in intensive care, and she said ‘there are lots of people worse than him’ and she walked on.
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My husband died like a battery hen. He was six foot two, he was cramped, squashed up against the iron bars of the bed, an oxygen mask that didn’t fit his face, his eye was infected

“Because the air from the oxygen was blowing into it, his lips were very dry. I used my own lypsyl to try and moisten them. There were no nurses around.

“Just at eight o’clock, just before he died, all the lights of the ward went on, and somebody shouted ‘anybody for breakfast?’

“Now, it was obviously totally inappropriate when they knew there was somebody dying in that four-bedded ward.

“The man in the bed next to him had been feeling hot all along. He had a fan on and it was blowing the cold air towards my husband.

“So I really do feel he died of cold and he died from people who didn’t care.”

Breaking down in tears, she said: “It gives me nightmares. I really find it very difficult to sleep, and very difficult to talk about.”

But Ms Clwyd said she had to speak out “because I think it’s just too commonplace”.
Posted by Jill Fallon at December 6, 2012 1:53 PM | Permalink