A 93-year-old woman was left for six days in urine-soaked clothing while she waited for medical treatment at a British hospital, the Daily Mail reports.
The woman, Enid Stevens, a former nurse herself, was reportedly admitted to St. James Hospital in Leeds because she had fractured her spine.
Stevens had to wait for six hours before she could go into a private space and then had to wait for another five hours for care, according to the newspaper.
During that time, she was rendered incontinent and her clothing became wet.
“It was the most terrible thing that has ever happened to me,” Stevens told the Daily Mail. “I was soaked-through with urine in my clothes. It was like a nightmare.”
Stevens had no way of moving or notifying nursing staff about her situation.
Eventually, she was given a bed in a ward for three days but was later moved to a hallway for another six days.
Before she retired, Stevens worked for the country’s National Health Service for 41 years, an experience that gave her insight into the problem.
“What happened to me was the most degrading thing I’ve ever experienced,” Stevens said.
“But I’m not blaming the hospital or the staff there – you have to see it for yourself. The place was absolutely heaving – as soon as you ask a nurse to do one thing she’s stopped by someone else to do something else.”
Stevens said Britain used to have nursing homes for elderly patients to recover from hospital stays, but the government closed them.
The great grandmother of five said she was thankful that her daughter, Barbara Brook, was available to help her through the ordeal.
Julian Hartley, the chief executive of the hospital, told the Daily Mail that medical staff should have communicated better with Stevens and her family. Hartley said Stevens was placed in “non-designated bed space for longer than is acceptable.”
“Unfortunately there are pressures across the whole health and social care system which impact on our ability to discharge some patients who need further non-hospital support or care,” Hartley said. “Regrettably we sometimes have to move some patients to a non-designated bed space for a temporary period of time.”
[Feature image: St. James Hospital/Google street view]