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Disabled patient died after 'sub-standard hospital care' INQUEST TOLD NURSES TOO BUSY TO LISTEN.

Byline: ROBIN TURNER robin.turner@walesonline.co.uk

AN INQUEST began yesterday into the death of a disabled man whose care at one of the nation's biggest hospitals was described by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales as "dire".

Paul Ridd, 53, of Baglan, Port Talbot, had a major bowel operation at Swansea's Morriston Hospital in December 2008, but died three weeks later on a general ward after contracting pneumonia.

In a scathing report published in 2011, Peter Tyndall, Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, said: "Paul's nursing care on the general ward was abject and a long way below reasonable standards.

It greatly concerns me that the dire level of care to which Paul was subjected on the ward could have happened in the 21st century."

Mr Tyndall upheld many of the complaints by Mr Ridd's sister Jayne Nicholls, 48, who runs the Tyn y Twr pub in Baglan and her civil engineer brother Jonathan, 40, about the care Abertawe Bro Morgannwg (ABM) University Health Board staff gave Mr Ridd.

Mr Ridd was left with severe learning disabilities and abdominal problems after suffering brain damage at birth. He also suffered from epilepsy and could not communicate verbally.

The non-jury inquest at Swansea's Civic Centre heard yesterday from Dr Charles Turton, a respiratory and general medicine consultant who is adviser to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman who reviewed Mr Ridd's treatment.

Speaking via a video link, Dr Turton said Mr Ridd had good care until arrangements were made for him to transfer to the general ward. He said shortcomings after that included the lack of a specific care plan, Mr Ridd's observations not being done frequently enough and no action taken when his oxygen levels were abnormal.

Dr Turton said: "Cumulatively, it meant his care was very substantially below standards that could reasonably be expected. Inadequate action was taken on the basis of deteriorating observations. It's unfortunate having had such excellent care that things went so wrong in the end."

Lyn Williams, a support worker for Mr Ridd who spent long periods with him in hospital, told Swansea Coroner Philip Rogers that he died on an ordinary mattress despite repeated calls for an air-flow mattress because of bed sores.

He and other support workers were frustrated by the medical staff, claiming a staff nurse "missed out" Mr Ridd on one ward round.

He said: "Nobody was listening. It was obvious there was something amiss; it was the whole appearance of Paul, he was flat and unresponsive. There was very little nursing contact."

He described the workload placed on nursing staff on the ward as "abysmal".

"They were chasing their tails all the time. Buzzers were going off. It was an extremely busy ward," he said.

He said there was concern about fluid build-up in Mr Ridd's chest, but he said no suction to remove it was applied "unless we asked for it".

Home Office pathologist Derryck James gave the cause of death as respiratory failure with retention of secretions.

Hospital intensive therapy consultant Dr David Hope said: "Mr Ridd's case has led to significant improvements in the discharge process."

The hearing continues.

CAPTION(S):

Brother and sister Jayne Nicholls and Jonathan Ridd, whose brother, Paul Ridd, died at Morriston Hospital

Paul Ridd, centre, with Jonathan and Jayne
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 2, 2013
Words:547
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