A woman whose husband has been holed up in hospital for almost 13 weeks claims he was given the wrong medication and even had security called on him after “begging for help”.
Kayleigh Wright who lives in Lordswood, Chatham, with her partner Ben says he feels “unsafe” on his ward and has been in a “cycle of deterioration” since December.
The couple are still desperately searching for answers as to his ill-health after failing to get a diagnosis and claim he has received “unacceptable care” to date.
Ben, 36, first started experiencing abdominal pain and cramps at the end of last year, and went to Medway Maritime Hospital on December 15 after becoming “progressively worse”.
Kayleigh told KentOnline: “He had severe diarrhoea so he could go about 20 times a day and it was literally like turning on a tap.
“He was seen in the surgical assessment unit and was admitted for two days and given fluids as he was dehydrated.
“It was all very blasé to begin with and being naive we just kept taking the word of doctors who said there was nothing wrong and that it would rectify itself.
“When they discharged him they just said he was dehydrated and needed to take more care of himself – one doctor said he had ulcerative colitis, another said he had Crohn’s disease, and another said he had bowels like spaghetti.
“Over that two-day period we had so many different things said to us.”
Ben, who is a carpenter, was left “unable to get out of bed” because he was in so much pain and couldn’t go back to work.
“He’s used to being up and about, he hates being at home not doing anything he’s a potterer so that was a hard thing for him,” Kayleigh said.
After multiple trips to the GP the couple, who have been married for 11 years, grew more “frustrated” at receiving no answers – while Ben’s condition was quickly getting worse.
He did not respond to any of the GP recommendations – including low and high fibre diets, IBS tablets and peppermint tea.
Kayleigh described his condition as a “cycle of deterioration” as he was able to eat less food as the days went on. He then began being sick and would get red blotches on his face which is when he went back to the hospital on May 9.
Kayleigh said: “He was there pretty much all day and had scans, then they told him there was nothing wrong and sent him home with painkillers.
“We got home and they told us we needed to go back for our discharge paperwork, so I went back and it said he had some fluid on the lungs on his CT scan.
“They told me they hadn’t read that part and to bring Ben back.”
They were told the hospital was going to start Ben on treatment for Crohns and he was put on steroids.
However, after waiting two weeks for an MRI scan, they found out Ben didn’t have the gut disease and so the steroids were slowly withdrawn which is when Kayleigh said Ben started to “deteriorate”.
The 37-year-old said: “On June 19 the nurse came over and started to put medication into his arm and when he said it hurt she said it was his antibiotic.
“But Ben wasn’t on antibiotics, half of it had gone in already but the nurse went away to go and check.
“It turned out he’d been given another person’s medication, luckily it wasn’t something he was allergic to, but that wasn’t even checked.
“In the evening, Ben asked the night nurse to take a cannula out of his hand because it had started to swell which is when he called me.
“When the nurse who gave him the wrong medication came back she said it had never happened and tried to say to him that on the pain medication he was getting confused, even though his mum witnessed it.”
Kayleigh claims no thorough investigation happened, and the nurse changed her story to say that she’d realised it was the wrong medication before giving it to him, and again to say she’d connected it but not pushed.
She said the nurse was instructed not to go near Ben, and was later removed from the ward.
The hospital trust says it is investigating all concerns.
“After that the attitude changed towards us at the ward,” said Kayleigh. “I felt like I was arguing with everybody at this point, no one was listening to us.”
“About five weeks in I had a meeting with the chief medical officer, the doctors, ward manager, matrons and head of nursing and I was told it would be investigated.”
Ben was evaluated by the psych team who cleared him and said there was nothing wrong with his head. It was also deemed that he didn’t have IBS, Crohns or colitis.
They were promised a second opinion from a specialist but were then initially referred to Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford – a general hospital.
Ben is now on the waitlist for St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
He admitted feeling unsafe on the ward and Kayleigh said at one point he was hitting the metal frame on the side of the bed to try and get attention from nurses and they called security on him.
She said: “They had three security guards around a man’s bed who was screaming that he thought he was going to die and needed help.
“I was left questioning how they could let someone get so poorly and then phone security on a man who couldn’t even get out of bed.”
There was also an instance where, outside of visiting hours, Ben found a drink next to his bed which allegedly had medication mixed into it – but the nurse in charge was unable to find out what happened, it is alleged.
Kayleigh said: “On the week of July 3 things got really bad, the tests were coming back saying there was nothing wrong you could see visibly that there was, he couldn’t even keep a drink down.
“His face was broken out and his skin was flaking, he kept saying he had no energy and he couldn’t see properly – he was just begging for help.”
The couple have two children aged 16 and 17, and Kayleigh said: “They want to see their dad but their dad doesn’t want them to see him like this.
“Ben is now in such a low place mentally he told us the other day he doesn’t know how long he can live like this, they’ve just worn him down by telling him it’s in his head.
“He’s even said to us we can walk away from him and he’ll be okay with that because we deserve a better life, I can’t even work at the moment I’m basically living at the hospital because the nurses don’t want to look after him – I don’t understand how that’s acceptable.”
‘I was left questioning how they could let someone get so poorly and then phone security on a man who couldn’t even get out of bed’
She added: “The current situation is they're saying he needs surgery, however the surgeon told him he would die on the table because he’s not well enough.
“So what are we going to do – he can’t eat or drink, but he can’t get well enough for surgery so essentially where do we move forward from this?
“We are no further forward than we were when this first started and we are waiting for St Thomas’ input. We shouldn’t be nearly 13 weeks in hospital with no answers.”
Alison Davis, chief medical officer for Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are sincerely sorry if Mr Wright and his family feel the care he has received during his stay at Medway Maritime Hospital falls below the high standards of care we expect.
“We are investigating the concerns raised by Mr Wright’s family, and we will be in touch with them in due course to discuss our findings.”