Dementia dad had fractured back for days

Anger: Danny Birkett who is angry at the care he received during his stay in Preston Hospital, with his wife Carolyn and daughters Gemma and Sarah
Anger: Danny Birkett who is angry at the care he received during his stay in Preston Hospital, with his wife Carolyn and daughters Gemma and Sarah
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The family of an Alzheimer’s sufferer is demanding answers from hospital bosses after it took five days to discover he had a back fracture - despite them pushing for an X-ray.

Father-of-five Danny Birkett was rushed to A&E at the Royal Preston Hospital after having a seizure at Dovedale Court Care Home in Ingol.

His family, from Lostock Hall, near Preston, today said the hospital failed to give the granddad an X-ray, despite them repeatedly telling staff he was in pain. He was eventually given an X-ray and was found to have a back fracture and now has to wear a back brace for eight weeks.

Today daughter Sarah, 30, said she felt “let down” by the hospital and the experience had been an “absolute nightmare.” She said when Danny, who has lived in Dovedale Court since 2012, was first admitted to hospital he was crying out in pain and over the course of the next few days the family said to various doctors that they were concerned he had damaged his back when having the seizures and raised concern because he has previous back related issues

But she says the worries were dismissed until Danny was asked to walk by a physiotherapist, at which point his family said his pain was obvious.

Danny was admitted to hospital on June 14 and it wasn’t until June 18 that he was sent for a back X-ray. A day later the tests showed he had a back fracture.

Sarah said: “No wonder he was in agony. We as a family felt sick to the stomach. A fractured back, made to walk on it and no pain relief. As far as we’re concerned it was negligent behaviour and we’d been asking all week to do something to check his back for injury and we were ignored.”

Sarah also said in the time Danny was in hospital he was moved to five different wards where there were issues with his records being maintained, poor ward hand overs and there was no dementia liaison officer to assess his care needs.

Daughter Gemma was also left “distressed” after it was claimed Danny was alcohol dependant and an alcohol liaison officer was sent, because his records showed he had fallen on a family night out eight years earlier.

Sarah said: “It has been an absolute nightmare. It is basic care and common sense. My dad has us to speak on his behalf. I feel angry and let down and worried for other people that don’t have a voice.”

Doctors initially said Danny would need a vertebroplasty but then three days later they decided to treat it with a back brace. Danny was discharged from hospital on July 3 and must wear the back brace for eight weeks.

Karen Partington, chief executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are very concerned to hear about Mr Birkett’s family’s concerns and we are looking into them as a matter of urgency.

“We can confirm that a formal complaint has been made and we are currently in the process of investigating and are therefore unable to comment further.”