Relatives’ concern over ‘wholly inadequate’ care of hospitalized Royal Navy veteran from Lanarkshire

Concerned relatives of an elderly pensioner have hit out over his care, after a doctor decided to send him home from hospital.

Royal Navy veteran Thomas McLachlan, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, was discovered by his daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Ramsay Millar, lying on the floor at his home in Craigneuk, Wishaw after having fallen.

Later that night they were shocked to learn from a doctor that the 88-year-old was being discharged from University Hospital Wishaw – just hours after he’d been taken there by ambulance.

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Ramsay said: “Thomas has bowel cancer and a heart valve problem, he also suffers from chronic bronchitis. He was in hospital before Christmas and was discharged. He wasn’t keeping well last week and on Saturday at about 5.30pm I had to phone NHS 24.

“At one point there were three ambulances at the door and he had to be given morphine.

“He was eventually admitted to hospital but around 10.30pm that same night a doctor phoned and said discharge to my wife he was gettingd.

“I went absolutely ballistic. How could he possibly be discharged in the state he was in?

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“This was on a Saturday night and we are certainly in no state to look after him. I told them that wasn’t on.”

Thomas McLachlan from Craigneuk, Wishaw was taken to hospital by ambulance

Thomas, who was a submariner and sailor on frigates, lives alone but since his hospital stay before Christmas has been receiving two visits each day from a council home care team – one in the morning and the second in the afternoon. And his daughter and son-in-law of him, who live in New Stevenston, drop in as often as they possibly can.

Ramsay called a 24-hour helpline for social work at the weekend to see if they could help but, according to him “they completely washed their hands of it”.

“They told me it was nothing to do with them. Basically, they didn’t care.”

Although they welcome the current care at home that Thomas receives, Ramsay and Linda think the current package is “wholly inadequate” to deal with his needs.

“I’m not blaming the carers as they are under pressure,” said Ramsay. “But it’s been left to me and my wife to pick up the slack. I’m 74 and I don’t keep well; I was hospitalized myself just last week for four or five days, and Linda has mobility problems.”

Thomas currently remains in hospital where he is being treated for a chest infection but Ramsay and Linda are keen for him to return home as soon as he can.

The couple were shocked to hear Thomas was being discharged

“We want him back out of hospital, but we want him to have a decent care package,” Ramsay added. “The council said that it’s up to us to deal with him as we’re his family. That’s alright if we were young and able, but we’re not.”

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A spokesperson for North Lanarkshire Council said: “Our primary focus is providing the best and most appropriate support for Mr McLachlan.

“We will continue to work with the family and the hospital team to ensure the most suitable level of care is provided at all stages after he is discharged from hospital to ensure he is properly looked after within his own home.

“Mr McLachlan’s welfare has been, and will remain our absolute priority.”

Graham Simpson, deputy director of hospital services for NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We are sorry that the family were unhappy with their relative’s experience at University Hospital Wishaw and ask that they contact our patient affairs team to allow us to fully investigate their concerns.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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