Give dying Sheffield patients greater dignity

Lesley Seaman who is complaining about the Northern General Hospital and the way treated her father Gordon Seaman in his final hours before he died on a ward
Lesley Seaman who is complaining about the Northern General Hospital and the way treated her father Gordon Seaman in his final hours before he died on a ward
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A DAUGHTER is calling for poorly hospital patients to be given more dignity - after her dying father took his final breaths on a busy ward at dinner time.

Lesley Seaman’s 78-year-old dad Gordon died surrounded by fellow patients being served their evening meals in the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.

His 80-year-old widow, Betty, had to grieve in the hospital toilets to find some privacy, Lesley says.

“It was just so awful,” she told The Star.

“People were looking at us, eating their tea, and a nurse was shouting, ‘Does anybody want more pudding?’.

“They pulled a curtain around us - but one of the other patients had dementia, and he kept getting in.
“Afterwards we had to go into a toilet just to be on our own.”

Today Chris Morley, deputy chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, apologised.

He said patients are normally moved into single rooms, but the private areas on Gordon’s ward were already occupied due to ‘infection control’.

“I would like to offer our sincere condolences to Mr Seaman’s family,” he said.

“We do endeavour to move patients receiving end-of-life care into single rooms wherever possible. Regrettably, on this occasion, the single rooms were already occupied for infection control reasons.”

Retired painter and decorator Mr Seaman was taken into hospital after collapsing at home in Malin Bridge, and died the next day after his condition quickly worsened.

Lesley, from Hillsborough, said it was clear soon after he was admitted he wouldn’t survive.

“We were taken into the family room, and the doctor said dad wasn’t going to make it through the rest of the day,” she said.

“Then while he was taking his last breath they were all having their tea.

“I said to one of the nurses, ‘Can we have a private room?’. She said, ‘We were going to put him on a different ward, but there’s no point now’.

“There must have been an option to give him his own room if they were thinking about doing it.”

Lesley, a confectionery factory worker, said her dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a decade ago and the disease returned around five months ago.

She said the family felt they ‘didn’t want to stay’ after her dad passed away on February 28.

“If it was in a private room we would have had longer with him,” she said. “My mum could have stayed in for a while on her own, and we could have said our goodbyes individually.”

Mr Morley added: “We apologise if Mr Seaman’s family did not receive the usual bereavement support we offer to relatives, which would include being taken to a quiet area to grieve in private.

“We have tried to contact Mr Seaman’s daughter to apologise and invite her to meet with us to discuss her experience further.”