Patient Who Complained About Black Nurse After Treatment Left Her with Punctured Lung Is Accused of Racism

Neil Sears, Daily Mail (London), June 1, 2012

A patient who complained about the treatment she and a frail blind woman received at the hands of a poorly-trained nurse was branded a racist.

Sandra Hynes, 50, had only gone into hospital for a simple operation to relieve her acid reflux, but following complications was left with a punctured right lung.

Sandra Hynes

She had to stay in for an extra two weeks and was put on morphine and oxygen to cope with her pain.

But further problems arose when her morphine drip and oxygen needed replenishing over a weekend.

Astonishingly, the staff on duty had not been trained in how to insert a ‘cannula’ needle into her hand, and struggled to provide new oxygen, leaving her in excruciating pain.

When she was given morphine orally instead, and began hallucinating and crying, a member of staff told her off.

Her patience finally snapped when a nurse fed hot soup to a blind patient in the bed next to her, leaving her blistered and screaming.

Mrs Hynes told the junior nurse – who happened to be black – that she should have tested the temperature of the soup before serving it.

Moments later the nurse’s superior, Staff Nurse Maureen Nwadike – who is also black – arrived in the ward, and told horrified Mrs Hynes: ‘You’re racist.’

Maureen Nwadike

Despite being in great pain, the patient grabbed a Zimmer frame and tried to leave the hospital.

Now, following a complaint, the Chelsea and Westminster hospital in West London has apologised for her appalling treatment.

Last night Mrs Hynes, of Grays in Essex, said: ‘I was called a racist for complaining about a lady  getting scalded, and because no one was able to fix my morphine over the whole weekend. It was a horrific experience.

‘I was in terrible pain, and because it was over the weekend no one could do anything about it.

‘I was scared to be on the ward, and about what might happen while I was asleep.
‘At one stage I even took a Zimmer frame and tried to get out so I could call for help on the street.

‘I never want to go there again, however ill I am.’

Following her complaint, Senior Nurse Sian Davies admitted in a long letter:

‘It is recognised that there are indeed less doctors working at the weekend, which unfortunately resulted in a severe delay in reviewing your pain relief, which is not acceptable.

‘You also described how Nurse Hannah did not know how to change the oxygen. She was  relatively new to the ward, not  very confident, and has learnt from the experience.

‘And you described how Nurse Maureen Nwadike accused you of being racist.

‘The behaviour you described will not be tolerated and is not acceptable. I will be monitoring her communication skills.’

Contacted at her home in Thamesmead, South-East London, Mrs Nwadike, whose husband Anthony, 54, is a director of a private nursing business, refused to comment.

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