A grandfather who died after an 11-hour wait for a hospital bed died alone on a chair in a corridor because the ward was full.
Bryan Fulstow, 83, died on November 15th at Hull Royal Infirmary.
His enraged son has now slammed the ‘inhumane’ NHS care he received in the run-up to his death.
The grandfather-of-four had to wait two and a half hours for an ambulance before being rushed to A&E with suspected sepsis — six days before his death.
Mr Fulstow was then transferred to the frailty assessment unit before doctors decided to transfer him to another ward, despite the fact that no beds were available there. His family claims he was left on a chair in the corridor.
He was later moved to a separate cubicle on his own, where he fell and hit his head. Doctors later ruled the injury was to blame for his death.
His son Steve has now demanded hospital managers justify why they left a severely sick, elderly man alone.
The retired maintenance engineer’s death has left his wife of 59 years, Barbara, with whom he shares three children, ‘heartbroken’, he added.
Mr Fulstow did not have any serious, existing medical conditions before his death.
He was taken to the hospital in an ambulance after becoming delirious, thin, and developing a high fever.
Mr Fulstow was transferred to another ward after spending a day on the frailty unit, despite the fact that there were no beds available.
According to Steve, senior staff members informed him that doctors were using a new model that involved moving patients “regardless of whether there were any beds.”
Select NHS Trusts implemented the strategy earlier this autumn in order to deal with severe winter delays.
‘He sat in a corridor with hundreds of people walking by and a catheter stuck on him for 11 hours — where is the dignity in that?’ Steve said of his father’s ordeal.
The pensioner was then put into a cubicle on his own.
Steve added: ‘I think that had a big role to play in his death. If he wasn’t in a room on his own there would have been people there to help him.
‘He was starting to improve. The next thing we had a call to say he had a fall. He’d hit his head and that’s what the medical examiner’s office said was what killed him.’
Steve attributed his father’s treatment to the ward being ‘under-resourced and under-staffed’.
He added: ‘It just feels like hell in there – it’s awful. I’ve visited hospitals a few times in my life and never seen it like that.
‘The whole caring for people aspect of the NHS seems to have left. We are just numbers to them. I can see how upset the nurses are.’
Hospital bosses have warned that the ‘North Bristol model’, as it has been dubbed, could lead to wards becoming overcrowded.
Dr Nick Scriven, former president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said it would only be safe if there are ’24-hour decision makers in place’.
However, Steve dubbed the policy as ‘just blatantly cruel’. He added: ‘You’re moving very, very unwell people out of a bed and into a chair, essentially. I can’t fathom who makes a decision like that.’
A spokeswoman for Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: ‘Although we are unable to comment on individual cases, we would like to express our deepest sympathy to the family of Mr Fulstow.
‘We can confirm our Patients Advice and Liaison Service has received Mr Fulstow’s concerns and an investigation is now under way.
‘Our senior nursing team will report back directly to the family at the conclusion of the investigation.’
The Trust did not confirm whether it was following the model.
Mr Fulstow was described as ‘a very proud Hull man’ who ‘loved being a granddad’.