CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Dr Dexter James has responded to a story published in the Newcastle Chronicle surrounding the treatment of a British national.
Elizabeth Ramsey said her husband David Ramsey spent ten days at the hospital which was “dirty” and “looked like something from the 1920s”. She also complained about her husband being restrained and receiving a £19 000 bill.
James said investigations revealed that David was transferred from a cruise liner on November 18, 2016 in an extremely critical and life-threatening condition and was immediately admitted for critical care management by a team of highly-trained specialists in the High Dependency Unit and Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU).
He said after the patient was successfully resuscitated and stabilised, he was transferred for non-ventilated care on the open ward (C5) for continued management until his discharge on November 30.
Below is the full text of his statement.
During the stay of the patient, an audit conducted reveals that it was documented that the treating physicians met with the patient’s wife and representatives from the British High Commission on his clinical condition and prognosis.
We have noted the allegation made by the family related to ‘bed sores’ and will only respond by saying that whenever patients are to be transferred from one facility to another, it is commonplace for medical notes to be exchanged on the condition of the patient before the transfer takes place. Our records would therefore reflect that this patient had pre-existing conditions which may have been exacerbated on admission to the QEH.
On the issue of the use of restraint, they are oftentimes recommended by physicians for use on unstable patients if there is an imminent threat to the patient’s safety. Such restraints prevent a patient from sustaining injury to themselves and is widely used in most hospitals.
With regard to the billings for services, there is a clear policy regarding care and treatment provided to persons who are neither citizens nor permanent residents. In this case, this patient presented in an emergency condition and care was provided without regard for payments.
On discharge, the final bill provided to the patient by the QEH was less than 30 per cent of the reported 19 000 pounds for the overall treatment by the hospital and cruise ship.
Our final comment relates to the environment in which care was provided. If one were to visit the new MICU you would observe that it is a state of the art facility that compares favourably with many intensive care units in first world countries. Moreover the open ward (C5) in which this patient was last managed is one of the better maintained wards at the hospital.
The QEH has received in the past numerous commendations on the quality of the environment of care by internationally-recognised agencies and credentialing bodies.
More recently, in the WHO AMR Newsletter 20 of January 2017, the institution showered accolades on the QEH’s Infection Control department for leading the way in the region for promoting patient safety through its anti-microbial stewardship programme.
We reflect on these achievements to say that providing care in a safe and congenial environment is paramount, and in spite of the age of the plant, we strive to maintain it in a state of good repair.
The Board of Management empathises with the plight of the patient and his family and wishes him a speedy recovery to good health. (PR)