Please help us get justice for my mother, Isabella Keatings. A nurse of 27 years, she loved the NHS and taught us to do the same, which is why this catastrophic failure of conscience and common decency on the part of the upper management of the NHS in Fife hurts so badly, and why being driven to the point of legal action in order to make them do the right thing is such an affront. It has been advised that this will cost as a ball-park figure, £50,000, probably more as we intend to take this as far as we possibly can.
For months, we have been fighting to get my mother the same treatment any other patient would come to expect naturally, and have been barred at every turn by NHS Fife, whose upper management have been determined to end her life. Now, we face a battle to get them to give her surgery she should not be barred from on the basis of any of her health conditions – this from the word of medical professionals who have broken rank to tell us what we've been fed as gospel is wrong (in fear of firing from their jobs, which is the NHS go-to when it comes to whistle-blowers).
From day one, she has been written off, pushed to the side and completely blacklisted from any treatment which might save her life. Why? Because she has Multiple Sclerosis, which we've been told by other medical professionals should not impede surgical intervention, and because she has dementia – something which does not hinder her love for life. What will hinder her life, however, is the kind of crippling pain that end-stage cancer will bring.
Originally, she was admitted for sepsis and pneumonia, and upper management took the decision to have her placed, not in a high dependency ward like you would come to expect for a patient who could not breathe unaided and would collapse into hypoxic levels which could cause organ failure – not even into a pulmonary ward, who could handle these conditions – no, she was placed into an elderly ward (aged 61) which lacked even the most basic monitoring apparatus. We, as a family, were forced to take up 24/7 residence in mum's hospital room for 5 weeks to take SATs readings on finger monitors and alert the WONDERFUL nurses who put up with our panic and had many moments of kindness as we fought as a team to keep mum alive.
During all of this, my mother was refused basic treatments which would have helped her improve and conquer her illnesses – including humidified oxygen, which is far more humane than long-term high flow oxygen, especially in pneumonia cases as it allows sufferers to cough up the mucus which has flooded their lungs. She was also denied a basic vitamin complement, despite proof of it helping people cure sepsis and the fact that, being nil-by-mouth, she would obviously be deficient.
All of this was before they found the tumour in her bladder – which they would have found three years prior if they had given her a scan they promised – which would also have saved her from an almost fatal pulmonary embolism.
I could go on – but all I will say is that we have been driven to the point of seeking legal action, which we anticipate will be an extremely pricey venture, but one which we must undertake, to save our mother, and to say categorically to NHS Fife that discrimination based on ageism or ableism cannot and will not be tolerated.
I leave you with a condensed list of some of the criminal and the discriminatory actions our mother and ourselves have faced at their hands.
Admission to elderly ward unequipped to keep Isla alive.
Obstructed and corrupted a second opinion by telling second opinion
not to perform required tests – this is documented in an email
chain we have as evidence.
A Doctor who was reported to the GMC for negligence and removed from
mum's care was instructed by a higher up individual (whose name we
have) to enter my mother's room and confront my brother (the person
who filed the complaint), resulting in an assault by proxy of
personal property in a blatant attempt to intimidate and bait him
into saying something they could use against us.
Repeated refusals to meet with the family to discuss care, and
indeed instructing doctors not to speak to the family AT ALL except
in emergency situations – this led to repeated violations of
consent when it came to modifications in our mother's care, which
legally MUST be reported to my brother, as her legal guardian in
One such violation of consent led to our mother being placed in
limited use soft restraints resulting in extreme bruising of the
wrist when it was fastened too tight or too much physical restraint
was applied in its fastening.
Repeated extending of deadlines in order to avoid engaging with
family (who have never been violent or abusive in any way other than
our unwillingness to allow NHS Fife to keep their violations in the
Refusal to acquire appropriate physiotherapy apparatus for so long
that my mother will likely never walk again. The given reason for
this was that the stroke ward took precedence, indicating that our
mother was somehow less important because of her hindered mobility
(she was walking on the day of admission).
Passing off an NHS Fife employee as an NHS Lothian doctor when we
asked specifically for no connection to NHS Fife due to a breakdown
in trust. This doctor only worked in NHS Lothian one day a week.
Repeated failures to address complaints made by the family.
Her surgery was called off by one TRAINEE consultant
anaesthesiologist and one relatively new consultant (2 years), both
of whom failed to provide a competent reason as to
the surgery was being called off, instead saying she looked “frail”,
which baffled even their own nurses – she was underweight, but
strong as an ox. They asserted that even after weight gain, she would
not be offered surgery, despite the fact this would leave her as
eligible as anyone else, a fact which was confirmed by private
contact with other surgeons and consultants, who were too scared to
stand up for us due to the threat of job loss.
Following this one discussion,
which included a slip implying that they had messed up and missed
this tumour 3 years ago, NHS Fife upper management closed ranks and
became stiff and uncooperative.
They have thrown their own WONDERFUL nurses under the bus in an
effort to pass off negligent statements as statements made by them,
rather than the Doctors who made them, to our faces.
Attempted to cover the symptoms of our mother's SYMPTOMATIC tumour
(rapid weight loss) with an augmented caloric diet reaching over
3,000 calories (1,700 should be sufficient to gain weight). This
increase was done without the knowledge or consent of the family,
including her legal guardian.
Barring of her legal guardian from the hospital grounds without due
cause based on conjecture, lies and pieced together evidence. This
prevents him from attending a protest to contest our mother's
discharge – which they believe he is the organiser of (he's not,
that honour falls to us, his sisters).
• Planned premature discharge of our mother on the 24 th rather than moving her to a hospital which deals with less acute cases and could treat her cancer. This discharge will likely result in either further necessary acute emergency care, taking up time for ambulances and a&e staff who will then need to admit her again, or a move to hospice care, where a woman with a treatable stage one bladder tumour will be allowed to die just because her life is deemed less valuable, or because they're attempting to hide their negligence in 2015.