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Trust apologises after nurses refuse to lift 15-stone patient


A refusal by nurses to lift a 15-stone A&E patient at a Blackpool hospital has prompted an apology from local NHS bosses.

Christine MacPherson, 68, was admitted after a fall, and daughter Ann MacPherson-Chambers says that nurses refused to lift her into bed in case they hurt their backs.

She also claims that her mother was not seen for an hour after admission, was not given her medication nor had blood cleaned from her face, and had needed to go to the toilet.

Ms MacPherson-Chambers says a number of nurses could have helped each other to move her mother, and that she was “mortified” that they would not.

Says Marie Thompson, director of nursing and quality for Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals trust: “We are extremely concerned to hear that Ms MacPherson-Chambers had reason to complain about the standards of care and treatment her mother received whilst a patient at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

“It is clear that the standards of care Mrs Macpherson received were at times totally unacceptable, and we would like to offer our sincere apologies to her and her family.

“A meeting has taken place between the trust and Ms MacPherson-Chambers to discuss her concerns in detail. We will now be speaking to the staff who were involved with her mother’s care, and once our investigations are complete we will provide the family with a full written response.”


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Readers' comments (30)

  • I have to wonder if the Trust are up to date with Manual Handling training for all staff and what is their policy on this? e.g. minimal handling This lady could have been moved safley with a hoist. Would the Trust pay compensation to the nurses if they did injury their backs?. As a nurse with back problems from many years 'lifting', I can assure you its no joke

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  • debra fretwell

    I agree with Pat, I am a 1st year student nurse and have already had a few lectures and a skills session regarding moving and handling. The trust in this case is quick to say the lady should have been moved but doesn't mention if there were hoists avaliable.

    A nurse only gets one back, they need to look after it!

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  • Ronald Luton-Brown

    You only get the one back But the hoist thing is only one of the issues raised. What about making the patient more comfortable washing her face checking if she needed the toilet etc? That is Good Nursing!

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  • I totally agree with Debra & Pat. I'm a third year MH student and all our sessions on moving and handling are designed to teach us to move the patient safely using up to date methods, and in accordance with health and safety and without causing strain to our backs. Was an assessment carried out on the patient ? if so it would have most likely indicated that a hoist could well be the best tool for the job. But who knows, without doing an assessment on the spot.
    If you recieve an injury to your back then its not just your career but all aspects of your life that will suffer.

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  • One back, one chance at a pain free life is all we get. I learned this the hard way and as harsh as this may seem, if there are no appropriate lifting aids available, I simply do not attempt to lift, or move anyone anymore. We'll find that there is more to this than meets the eye, as none of us enters this profession to be deliberately cruel or deprive people of the care they deserve/need.

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  • Well now I always thought that lifting a patient was a condemned practice and has been for many years. There are so many obese patients these days and nurses are right to refuse to 'lift' a patient. I am sure she could have safely been moved using another method but the account above isn't really very clear. I would certainly refuse to 'lift' anybody, thin or obese, it isn't safe for the patient and it is definitely not safe for the nurse.

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  • It gives very little information in this article, it was an A&E department so a fall could of been relatively minor in comparison to the other patients. I'm only a first year student and have seen bad practice from many nurses in regards to moving and handling. It might not of been ideal for the patient but if they needed to be lifted by a nurse for whatever reason the chances are that they would have needed assistance to get on the toilet to. The fact that it took an hour to be seen is pretty minimal in an A&E department in my opinion. For all the patient and her family knew there could have been arrests or patients that had more serious falls. We're lectured so much on treating patients holistically, so why don't the Hospital trusts look at complaints and there staff holistically. Just throwing out an apology before they have even conducted there investigation implies that the nursing staff we're negligent in one way or another. It shows no solidaity to there staff and more importantly no trust.

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  • i do agree with everybody comment and also Ronald about the personal care, but like everyone else mentioned we all have been trainined in safe manual handling and should use equipment if required.

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  • carley vaudrey

    i think the trusts decision to apologise without investigating the matter is appalling!! Im sure that if the nurses in question did lift this patient and then they dropped her, the family would be straight onto the trust complaining, and if the nurses hurt their backs and had time off, they would not get any sympathy when they needed time off, and im sure they would be getting into trouble for time they had off. These nurses were within their rights to refuse to lift this patient, and i know that i would have.

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  • Like others have said, this article doesn't give too much information.

    But I think what a lot of people need to be reminded of, including the public and the trust so called managers, is that nurses are well within their rights to refuse to lift heavy patients. Especially since a lot of the time the correct equipment isn't available or not working, or the patient is just so damn heavy that we would be putting ourselves at risk.

    We should look after ourselves to, because the trusts or our management aren't going to!

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