Nan, 92, 'asked to die' during 33 hour wait on Liverpool hospital corridor

A sick and elderly woman who was left lying on a trolley on a hospital corridor for 33 hours told her family she wanted to die.

Graeme Smith was trying to get his 92-year-old nan Vera Murphy into Aintree University Hospital from her care home on New Year's Eve after she became unwell.

Having waited hours for an ambulance, the paramedics were then caught up in a queue of vehicles trying to get into the hospital.

Graeme said his nan was "very distressed" during the wait, adding: "She was crying and telling us she wanted to die.

"She was praying to the Virgin Mary and asking to be taken. I've never heard her say anything like that before.

"She was delirious where she was dehydrated. She said 'dear God I don't want to go through this.'"

"She thought that's all she was going to be going through and was trying to pull out her cannula."

Graeme Smith speaking on Good Morning Britain said his grandma "wanted to die" while in hospital

Explaining the wait, Graeme said: "She arrived at the hospital at 9pm [31 December] but didn't get a place on a ward until 6am on 2 January.

"The rest of the time she was waiting on a hospital corridor with about 40 other elderly or very sick people.

"They were all being treated as well as staff could manage, but a number of them were in distress.

"It was horrendous to be honest."

Graeme said his father reported hearing numerous patients in the corridor saying that they wanted to die.

"There were rows of sick elderly people," he said. "A lot of them presuming because of the way they have been parked there that they are there to die."

"The people in that corridor, some of them couldn't have their basic needs met because there weren't enough staff - some couldn't get to the toilet and had soiled themselves, it was horrendous.

"The staff were trying their best, they were so apologetic. They are victims of this as well.

"Seeing this made me angry and that anger should be directed at the government."

Graeme said his mother told him 'you wouldn't treat a dog the way Vera has been treated tonight.'

Graeme Smith's 92-year-old grandmother Vera was in a hospital corridor at Aintree University Hospital for 33 hours. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Across the city at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, New Year's Eve saw similarly distressing scenes of elderly and vulnerable people left in corridors because of a lack of beds and staff.

One woman, who is a nurse based in a different area of the hospital, spoke of her harrowing experience when taking her 88-year-old grandmother to the hospital's overwhelmed A&E department.

The nurse, who asked not to be named, said: "My grandma is almost 89 and she was on a trolley, in a corridor, from just before midnight on 31 December until 5pm on Monday 2 January - that's 41 hours.

"I was having to help other patients on the corridor, there were people crying out for help and others trying to climb off their trolley.

"There is not enough staff to look after people and I think if we hadn't been there to feed and water my grandma she could have died there.

"A tea trolley came by at 5pm on one evening, there was no one else who came until 11am the next day."

She added: "It is like we have just accepted that it's ok for people to be lying in corridors for hours, corridors are where people walk through to get to work - where workmen and others come through, it is not right.

"I'd heard about how bad things are but to feel it first hand has just really knocked me sick. I feel ashamed.

"This is a horrific situation, from the poor staff trying to do their best but mainly for our sick and elderly relatives. It could be you or your family one day."

Directing her anger at the government, she suggested ministers should "try lying on a hospital corridor for 41 hours and see how they cope".

The NHS Trust says it has 'plans in place to ensure the safe delivery of care' Credit: Liv Echo

Responding to these accounts, David Melia, Chief Nurse at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Like many Emergency Departments across the country, we continue to face an unprecedented demand on our services.

"Our staff are working incredibly hard to provide safe care for patients in what are extremely challenging circumstances.

"This includes triaging patients on arrival, prioritising care according to clinical needs, and regular reviews and safety checks to monitor and support patients whilst they are in the department.

"To be able to further look into the concerns described, we would encourage those families to contact our Patient Advice and Complaints Teams.

"Unless their condition is life-threatening, we are urging people not to attend the Emergency Department.

"To help support our teams in caring for our sickest patients, local communities can help us by only using A&E when it is an emergency, and to contact NHS 111 to find alternative services if they have less urgent concerns."

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