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Why did our dad have to die like this?

Barnet Hospital has admitted its treatment of an elderly patient was “not acceptable” after he died in their care.

    Frank Reuben with two of his grandchildren.
    Frank Reuben with two of his grandchildren.

    A hospital has admitted its treatment of an elderly patient was “not acceptable” after he died in their care.

    Retired chauffeur Frank Reuben, 80, was admitted to Barnet Hospital in early January with a chest infection.

    But he was discharged two days later — only to be readmitted soon afterwards.

    Now his family claim, he was moved from ward to ward and finally died a shadow of his former self. And they fear the lack of care may have hastened his death.

    Daughter Samantha Berman, of Bushey, said she tried to raise her concerns but was ignored until “too late”.

    Frank Reuben's family claim he was left without care
    Frank Reuben's family claim he was left without care

    She said: “My dad was wrongly sent home and had to be rushed back to hospital with breathing problems and spent the next three weeks there.

    “Because of that decision we have been robbed of our cherished dad, and his final days were made so much worse by a catalogue of disastrous care.”

    Mr Reuben, an Edgware Reform Synagogue member who had two children and two grandchildren and 7 step- grandchildren, was moved between five wards during his time in hospital. Mrs Berman said: “It was on the Juniper ward where he received the worst care. My dad could not hold the bottle provided for him to use to go to the toilet. The staff were supposed to help him and one staff member refused.

    “She said to him: ‘You can do it yourself’. He obviously couldn’t and was left to sit in his own mess.

    “He was regularly just left in a chair and his deterioration over three weeks was heartbreaking — we often left the hospital feeling helpless and in tears.

    “He was not even kept warm. We turned up once to visit him and the staff didn’t even know where he was.”

    Mrs Berman expressed her concerns to the senior nurse on Juniper ward.

    In response, the nurse, Thomas Dowle, admitted in a letter to her that “the standard of care had dropped below the high standard” the hospital normally expected.

    He said: “I have expressed to all the staff that it is not acceptable.

    “Overall, I feel the behaviour of the staff on Juniper was not acceptable.”

    In a statement, Fiona Smith, acting chief executive of Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust, said an investigation had been launched into Mr Reuben’s care.

    She said: “We will keep Samantha informed of progress and what has been done to ensure that any of the issues she has raised cannot happen again.”

    But an angry Mrs Berman said she had not heard from the hospital since her father died. She has now launched a Facebook campaign to contact other families who have similar experiences.

    She said: “I’m not interested in compensation. My dad has gone and our family is devastated. I want an improvement in care for families going through the trauma of a stay in hospital.”

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