Hospital turned our dad into a 'skeleton'

AN inquest was halted after a family accused hospital bosses of turning their elderly father into a “human skeleton” in the days before he died.

Angry relatives of 78-year-old John Moss made a series of complaints over his treatment at Rotherham General Hospital after a hip replacement operation went wrong and he contracted the killer bug MRSA.

Daughter Julie Taylor (44), told the inquest: “What we were told is that he was dying from MRSA. We didn’t get told anything else by the hospital.

“Mum didn’t want to go there, he was like a human skeleton.

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“They said he would live a few hours at most and it went on for eight days.”

But the inquest had to be adjourned half-way through after a mix-up over a report of the investigation into their concerns.

The Rotherham deputy coroner, Mr Fred Curtis, was wrongly under the impression that the family had been given an opportunity to look at the report and discuss it with Rotherham General Hospital Trust officials.

That had not happened but was only realised as Dr Patricia Baine, deputy chief of quality and standards at the trust, who led the investigation team, was called to give evidence.

“This has taken me by surprise,” Mr Curtis said.

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The inquest will now resume after Mr Moss’s three children have received a copy of the report and had a meeting with the trust.

Details of the family’s allegations emerged in questions during evidence given by Barnsley-based pathologist Dr Stephen Beck, who was called in to compile an independent medical report as he was not connected to the Rotherham General Hospital.

Retired glassworker Mr Moss, of Rhodes Avenue, Kimberworth Park, was admitted to hospital in January last year after a fall near his home walking back from shopping with his wife Jean.

Mr Moss, on medication after previously suffering a stroke, needed two hip replacement operations in hospital after the first one did not work and died two months later.

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The family claim the hospital failed him by taking him off his stroke medication, putting him on a ward known to have MRSA and denying him food or water in his last days.

They pointed out that Mr Moss was screened for MRSA before being admitted but later developed an ulcer on his ankle which they believe may have been the cause of his MRSA.

Mr Moss suffered chest infections before he was found to have the MRSA bug, which had got into his blood stream. He died on March 13.

Dr Beck said it was believed that the bug had not come from within the hospital, but had been brought in from outside, although it was not known how.

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Mr Moss was given intravenous anti-biotics, but appeared to be suffering from another problem.

Dr Beck accepted that there was “variations” in the way Mr Moss was being treated, according to hospital notes, which he said were “not easy to dissect.”

He said Mr Moss had double pneumonia, may also have had chronic bronchitis and had undiagnosed cancer of the pancreas which added his health problems. 

But he said the hip joint did not appear to have been infected with MRSA.

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He said that Mr Moss died from bronchial pneumonia, contributed to by the hip fracture, the stroke and cancer in a “complicated series of events over two months.”

Mrs Taylor said: “Two weeks before he died he was eating and speaking ok and within the space of a few hours he couldn’t do anything, he couldn’t even lift his arm, he just flopped.”

Her brother Colin Moss (43) added: “We were told he was getting nourishment from drips only to be told two weeks later it was just fluids.”

The inquest was adjourned.


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