A COUPLE from Batley have criticised the treatment their disabled son received at Pinderfields Hospital.
Joanne and John Skeffington, of Heaton Road, hit out after son Jonathan, who has cerebral palsy, was forced to spend a month over Christmas and New Year in hospital with a problem they claim could have been alleviated as soon as they arrived.
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Pinderfields, are currently investigating their case.
The pair took 27-year-old Jonathan to the Wakefield hospital back in September because he was bleeding from a tube that feeds him through his stomach.
They claim that doctors told them his bowel was blocked and they couldn’t do anything further to help him, sending him back home.
Three months later Jonathan, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of five, was still bleeding and had to be taken by ambulance again to Pinderfields on December 9.
And that’s where the problems started, according to Joanne and John.
John, 55 and his son’s full-time carer, said: “We spent 13 hours in A&E to get a doctor to see him but nobody would come and see him.
“A chest doctor finally came to give him an x-ray and said he’s got an infection, which he didn’t – he didn’t have a temperature. Ten minutes later she came back to say he hadn’t got an infection but that they couldn’t look after him.
“We went from one doctor to another and nobody would take control of him.”
Eventually John said they were transferred to an intensive care unit bed because there was nowhere else available.
Jonathan reportedly remained there for 11 days whilst doctors decided what treatment they could or couldn’t give him – claiming it was “too risky” to replace his feeding tube in a procedure known as a jejunostomy or insert a camera to investigate the problem.
His parents said after he was finally given a PICC line (a catheter tube) to provide him with the nutrition he needed, he was then moved to gate 34 – where they claim he wasn’t given enough food or water to survive.
Mum Joanne, 45 and also his full-time carer, said: “From the moment he moved from ICU to the new ward he saw no doctor whatsoever, nobody came near that bed apart from the nutrition team.
“We got no water which we questioned, and they said there was enough going through but there wasn’t. There was only 1,200ml going through (his PICC line) in 24 hours and his stomach was still bleeding.”
Joanne said it got to a point where “he was at death’s door” because he was so dehydrated – and she said it was only then when doctors decided to perform the jejunostomy they’d wanted back in September.
John said: “We feel he’s been discriminated against because of his disability. If it had been me or you, they’d have seen to us straight away without hesitation.
“He hasn’t got anything that’s incurable. There’s nothing wrong with his body, there wouldn’t be anything risky about any of the procedures.
“We are disgusted, he’s been victimised because of his disability. They didn’t see him as a proper person, they didn’t give him a chance to have any tests.
“When it (the jejunostomy) finally got done, it was wrong what they said in the first place. We said there was no bowel blockage and they still dismissed it. They just fobbed him off.”
The couple have made a formal complaint to the Mid Yorkshire Trust.
David Melia, director of nursing and quality at Mid Yorkshire, said: “We aim to provide the best care and treatment for our patients and we always take this very seriously when families raise concerns with us.
“Whilst the trust is not in a position to comment on individual cases due to confidentiality, we are carrying out a full investigation into the family’s concerns, and will be speaking directly with the family following this as soon as possible.
“Every single member of the trust comes to work each day to provide the best possible care for all our patients and the team on gate 34 are no exception.
“The team is committed to making improvements. We hope this helps to further improve the level of care we all provide.”