Heart attack victim’s ‘traumatic’ ordeal getting treatment at Horton

Colin and Sue Hewitt, from Clifton. NNL-180304-140121009
Colin and Sue Hewitt, from Clifton. NNL-180304-140121009

A 70-year-old heart attack victim who was put in a taxi to Banbury from a hospital in Oxford said he could have died when he then got lost in the Horton’s corridors.

Colin Hewitt, of Clifton, has written to Oxford University Hospitals (OUH), Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the Care Quality Commission, bitterly criticising management of his care.

He praised doctors and nurses but described his ordeal accessing care as ‘appalling’ and ‘traumatic’. OUH managers are investigating his complaints urgently.

Mr Hewitt suffered a heart attack last Wednesday and was taken by ambulance to the Horton where he lay on a trolley all night, managing only 45 minutes sleep. He was transferred to the JR, Oxford.

“My wife called the JR to ascertain if I could remain there after my operation and... was assured I would be staying overnight.

“Once there, I was very firmly put in my place and told in no uncertain terms I was the responsibility of the Horton and an ambulance had been booked for my transfer back at 5pm. They said there was ‘no way’ I would remain at the JR.”

After an angioplasty and stent fitting Mr Hewitt waited and waited for the ambulance to return him to the Horton. 

Mr Hewitt’s wife Sue – a first aider – offered but was not allowed to drive him. Staff said it would be classed as checking out of the NHS system; there would be no medication and he may not be readmitted if there were complications. 

With continuing very high blood pressure Mr Hewitt continued to wait. His wife left for home. The transport that shortly arrived before 10pm was a taxi. 

With Horton reception closed Mr Hewitt found cardiac rehab and other wards closed and locked.

Eventually A&E directed him to Juniper Ward but without assistance, he got lost in the corridors. He met a porter who told him he could have been locked in all night.

“By this time, I was very fatigued and cold but still had to climb up two flights of stairs as the lifts had been closed,” he said.

“I was shown to a bed and virtually collapsed into sleep. On recalling my story to the ward sister the next morning, she appeared horrified. 

“I could have quite easily collapsed and died in those dark, cold corridors whilst looking for someone to talk to.

“I was not offered any assistance up to the Juniper Ward and was in a very weak state.

“This saga is appalling and shows a complete lack of care and consideration, especially after my life-threatening illness.” 

Mr Hewitt, a diabetic, said he was not given any food and had to treat himself for a hypoglycemic attack with biscuits.

An OUH spokesman said: “We are grateful to Mr Hewitt for his positive comments about the ‘care and professionalism’ of clinical staff who cared for him.

“However, we are very concerned by the complaints raised by Mr Hewitt about other aspects of his experience in our hospitals.

“The issues which he has highlighted in his letter are extremely concerning and we are investigating them as a matter of urgency.

“We will share the findings with Mr Hewitt when we have completed our investigation. 

“As an organisation we are committed to learning lessons when the care which we provide falls below the high standard which patients and their families should expect.”