Son slams mother’s ‘appalling’ treatment after hospital stay

Mary MacBride
Mary MacBride

The son of a 92-year-old woman has told how his mother “developed a chest infection” after receiving “appalling treatment” during her discharge from the Ulster Hospital.

Gerry MacBride, 51, who now lives in the Republic but whose mother lives in Newtownards, told the News Letter that his mother Mary had been a patient in the hospital for two weeks after surgery for a broken hip.

But he said after “good care in the hospital”, on January 26 she was discharged “into the cold winter air without her ongoing medication, dressing gown, headgear or anything else you would wrap your own granny up in at this time of year.

“She was well looked after in the hospital but the discharge – to send anyone out in their nightie without a dressing gown or a hat into a cold ambulance – is immoral”.

He claimed his mother then had to wait “on a trolley in the back of an ambulance with the back doors wide open” whilst staff attended to a second patient.

Mr MacBride said his elderly mother is now “recovering from a chest infection with antibiotics” in a care home.

He said at the time of the discharge his mother “was a little confused but she is a very strong lady and totally compos mentis with independent living all her life”.

A spokesman for the NI Ambulance Service said: “If any patient feels they received treatment less than they expected from the ambulance service we would invite them to make a complaint to our headquarters.”

A spokeswoman for the South Eastern Trust said: “The doctor mistakenly thought this lady was returning to her own nursing home where her ongoing drugs were available, so only prescribed her new medication.

“However, she was being discharged to a different facility. This was a genuine mistake which was quickly recognised and rectified by the staff nurse who got the drugs prescribed straight away, and ensured arrangements for collection.

“She followed up the next morning to check they had been collected. A full apology was made at the time.”