Elderly woman moved into ‘red’ ward despite not having Covid, inquiry hears
An elderly woman was forced to stay in a hospital ward rife with coronavirus, her daughter has told the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry.
Margaret Kilpatrick (pictured) told the inquiry that her mother, who was 89 at the time, was taken from her care home to a hospital in Scotland for emergency surgery under the promise she would be taken to a “green pathway ward” – meaning there was a guarantee of no Covid on the ward.
Her mother underwent crucial surgery after doctors found a tumour on her bowel which caused her severe abdominal pain.
However, after undergoing surgery, she was taken from a high priority bed and placed in a “red pathway ward” – a term given to wards where patients with Covid were cared for, the inquiry heard.
Her mother was in hospital from June 8 until June 24 2020.
Mrs Kilpatrick said she was unaware her mother had been taken to a Covid ward and only found out after she asked.
“I subsequently found out, having asked the question, that no, it was the red pathway Covid ward,” she said.
She added: “Apparently they needed the bed from high dependency for someone else, and that was the only place they could find a bed for my mum.”
Mrs Kilpatrick said she was “shocked” when staff asked whether her mother was shielding as she had previously referred them to an NHS letter telling how her mother, who had a number of health conditions, was “very vulnerable” and was thus shielding.
Asked by the panel if this was a cause of concern to her, she added: “Well, we’ve been living from March until June with fear of Covid and then my very vulnerable mother, post very major surgery, is put into what I’m told is the red pathway Covid ward, and she doesn’t have Covid.”
She also told the inquiry of the impact not seeing her family had on her mother.
“During the first lockdown my mum said to me it was worse than during the war because you were deprived of your family and community contact,” she said.
“She did say that. It was, ‘at least during the war you can see family and go about your business’.”
Her mother has since died, the inquiry was told.
The inquiry also heard from Shona Wallace, whose 32-year-old daughter, who has a learning disability, lived in a care home throughout the lockdown.
Mrs Wallace told the inquiry that her daughter, Claire, was left distressed due to not being able to have proper contact with her family.
Despite this, her daughter had regular contact with an aromatherapist who was drafted into the care home to give treatment to residents.
Mrs Wallace said she was “distraught” that her daughter was able to have regular contact with the aromatherapist but could not have contact with her family.
The inquiry, taking place before Lord Brailsford in Edinburgh, continues.
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