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Coronavirus Kent: Son of mother who lived at Pilgrims Way nursing home in Maidstone didn't know she was in hospital with Covid-19, where she later died

A man has been left bewildered after claiming a care home failed to tell him his mother was in hospital, where she was tragically losing her battle with coronavirus.

Doreen Martin had been living at Pilgrims Way nursing home in Maidstone for two and half years, after a stroke left her paralysed on one side.

Doreen and Stephen Martin at his wedding
Doreen and Stephen Martin at his wedding

The 78-year-old's son, Stephen Martin, had not seen his mum since the beginning of March, when the Bower Mount Road centre decided to close to all visitors due to the pandemic.

Despite hoping this would keep Mrs Martin protected from illness, three weeks later, Mr Martin got a call from a doctor at Maidstone Hospital. They said his mother had been put on oxygen due to Covid-19 and was sadly, not going to recover.

Mrs Martin had been in hospital for three days but Mr Martin says this was the first he heard about it. She passed away two days later on Tuesday, March 31. However, the care home says it made several efforts to contact Mr Martin.

Mr Martin, 56, said: "The doctor was surprised to hear I had not been told.

"I'm disappointed more than being angry. I know I wouldn't have been able to go and see her but that's not really the point.

Mrs Martin with her husband, Robert Martin
Mrs Martin with her husband, Robert Martin

"I thought it was really good when they closed to visitors as I thought it would be one of the safest places for her to be."

He added: "There's nothing on the website about Covid-19 being in the care home. They still haven't called and I'm not in the right frame of mind to call them myself.

"When I told my friends what had happened they couldn't believe it."

Before this, Mr Martin says he never had "any real major issues" with the service provided at Pilgrims Way.

However, deputy manager at the care home Jeeja Chacko says staff made numerous calls to both Mr Martin's mobile and landline number, when his mother became ill and then also when they called an ambulance during the night.

The entrance to Pilgrims Way nursing home in Bower Mount Road, Maidstone. Picture: Google street view
The entrance to Pilgrims Way nursing home in Bower Mount Road, Maidstone. Picture: Google street view

Ms Chacko said: "We left messages and told him to call back as we needed to speak to him about Doreen. It will be written in her notes."

Another member of staff added she had tried to make calls since Mrs Martin's death for her son to collect his mother's possessions.

But Mr Martin says he did not receive any calls or messages from the home.

"I always have my phone on and would have checked my messages, especially if it was a Maidstone number as I would have thought it was about mum," he said.

Doreen Martin was a mother-of-three - Mr Martin had a brother and sister who have sadly also passed away - and was married to Robert Martin for 40 years before he died in 1992 due to cancer.

She lived in Cambridgeshire for most of her life, but moved down to Kent to be closer to her son. But tragically, she'd only been living in Pembury for three weeks before she had the stroke and was moved into the nursing home.

Working as a petrol station manager for many years, which she enjoyed, Mrs Martin also loved gardening and painting watercolours.

Mr Martin, who lives in Tunbridge Wells with his wife Gill, said: "She was a very independent person and creative too.

"We were always close when I lived up in Cambridgeshire, but we grew closer when she moved down here."

Ms Chacko says there have been three patients with Covid-19 at Pilgrim's Way, all having sadly passed away. She added there are no current cases of the virus at the home.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone


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