Widow ‘let down’ by nurse investigation

John Denny, pictured with his wife, Dorothy, before his illness and death at Worthing Hospital SUS-141125-113737001
John Denny, pictured with his wife, Dorothy, before his illness and death at Worthing Hospital SUS-141125-113737001

A WIDOW has been left devastated after an investigation into a nurse’s care of her late husband found there was ‘no case to answer’.

Retired British Airways steward John Denny, 76, died at Worthing Hospital on July 13, 2012, following neurological complications.

His wife, Dorothy, 69, complained about the standard of his care but despite the hospital pledging to learn lessons, she took her complaint to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

But the NMC ruled there was ‘no case to answer’ last month, leaving her upset as she feels she does not have a satisfactory conclusion.

She said: “It has been going on for so long. I’m absolutely exhausted.

“I don’t understand how this could happen. I can’t get my head around it and I don’t think it will ever go out of my head.”

Mr Denny, formerly of Storrington, was admitted to the hospital on July 1. He was unable to communicate or do anything for himself.

Mrs Denny was concerned about several aspects of her husband’s care, which the hospital responded to in a meeting after his death.

But she was particularly distressed about one incident, in which it was alleged her husband’s pyjamas were put on back to front, leaving it difficult for him to breathe.

Mrs Denny claimed the nurse later telephoned her at home to apologise. A letter from the hospital said the pyjamas had been put on this way to maintain Mr Denny’s ‘dignity, to prevent exposure’ but admitted the actions were ‘incorrect’.

The NMC stated the nurse had since undergone additional training, leaving ‘no real prospect’ their fitness to practice would be currently impaired.

Mrs Denny, who has since moved to North Wales, added: “I feel let down by the NMC. I have been told I can appeal the decision at the High Court but I wouldn’t know where to start.

“I still have nightmares about what happened.”

In response, Cathy Stone, director of nursing and patient safety at the hospital, said: “I am very sorry that some of the care Mrs Denny’s husband received in 2012 did not meet the high standards we strive for.

“I met with Mrs Denny in person, along with the sister in charge, and fully investigated her concerns, and responded to them in detail. Providing the best care possible for our patients is our primary aim, and any complaint is always taken very seriously so lessons can be learnt, and improvements made.”