Family fury over treatment of 89-year-old patient in Darlington (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Family fury over treatment of 89-year-old patient in Darlington
POLICE are investigating the case of an elderly hospital patient after her family said she was left alone on a mattress on the floor.
Sam Zair said he was appalled at the conditions in which he found his 89-year-old mother at Darlington Memorial Hospital.
Bernice Zair was admitted late last year after becoming ill due to an infection.
Her son and his wife Lesley went to visit and were horrified at what they found.
"She was on a mattress in a room on her own and both of us just couldn't believe what we were seeing," he said.
Last night the hospital said it was unable to comment until the police investigation was complete.
Lesley Zair added: "I wouldn't treat my dog like this - truthfully I wouldn't. There was not even a pillow under her head.
"Remember this is an 89-year-old lady. I was just horrified to see a mattress on the floor with Sam's lovely mum curled up on it."
Mr Zair said his mother, who died last month in the hospital after developing pneumonia, had initially spent 72 hours on a ward before being transferred to the room.
"As a family we are absolutely distraught and I am absolutely disgusted by the way a certain ward in Darlington treated my mother."
He said there were other "major issues" under investigation - adding there seemed to be a lack of staff on duty, many of whom were agency staff.
Mr Zair, who represents Bishop Auckland on Durham County Council, said he did not wish to go into further detail while the investigation is underway.
He was one of the leaders of the Save Our Hospital campaign which tried to prevent the scrapping of 24 hour emergency care at the £67m Bishop Auckland General Hospital.
Critics argued that the loss of the Accident and Emergency department would place an intolerable burden on hospitals in Darlington and Durham.
"With living in Bishop Auckland, mam would have been treated a lot quicker and there would have been a greater continuity of care, it would have been a lot better."
Paying tribute to his mother, Coun Zair, who runs a café in North Bondgate, Bishop Auckland, said: "She was a very hardworking person and she worked even beyond retirement. She was a fantastic cook, she loved to please everyone."
A spokesman for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said last night: "We offer our condolences to Mr Zair for his recent loss.
"We have received his complaint which is being investigated with the involvement of the police, in line with local safeguarding adults guidance.
"We have made Mr Zair aware that we cannot complete our investigation and respond to the issues he has raised until the police investigation is complete.
"It would be inappropriate to comment on an on-going investigation."
No-one from Durham Police was available for comment tonight.
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