Family ‘left in the dark’ on ill 83-year-old’s condition

By Alexandra Bánfi   |   Reporter   |
Sunday 17th April 2022 8:43 am
@AlexandraBanfi
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Jeffrey and Fiona Wells are pictured here with their son, and Ewan’s brother, Alistair Wells

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A Talybont family were left in the dark and “forced to make a formal complaint” after failing to receive an update on their 80-year-old relative.

Jeffrey Wells, 83, suffers with heart issues and transient ischemic attack (TIA), a condition that causes a temporary period of symptoms similar to those of a stroke.

Jeffrey was taken to Bronglais Hospital, in Aberystwyth, on 23 March, after falling at his home in Talybont on Sunday, 20 March.

Jeffrey’s 84-year-old wife Fiona, who is almost blind with mobility issues and limited use of her fingers due to arthritis, struggled to lift him. The couple were told they would probably have to wait over four hours for an ambulance.

Due to the fact that Jeffrey seemingly only had a broken hand and the reluctance of ambulance staff, nothing more was done.

On Wednesday, 23 March, an ambulance attended when Jeffrey suffered increasing back pain. After a three hour wait and a “dismissive” attitude from the ambulance staff, Jeffrey was taken to Bronglais.

But during his time in Bronglais, where he remains to this day, his son Ewan Wells said the family have been left in the dark, only receiving an update from a doctor after submitting a formal complaint.

Ewan said: “On the morning of Friday, 25 March, I was at home in Lancashire when I received a phone call from my father. He sounded distressed and confused but told me he had broken his back and was in Bronglais.

“He had a scan the evening before and had just found out that he had fractured two of his vertebrae.

“We were informed that dad was due to see a specialist on Friday, and we should receive a phone call from the doctor once that had been done. We heard no more.

“Saturday and Sunday there was no call and again by Monday I was told that we would hear from the doctor later that day. We heard nothing on the Monday or Tuesday.”

Jeffrey, who was “slurring his words” and seemed “confused”, continued to ring his family.

“At around 5.15pm on Tuesday, my mother received a call from my father where he appeared to think he was cooking tea, he wasn’t making sense and was slurring badly. She wondered if he had another TIA.”

The family called the hospital, but after being reassured a doctor would see to Jeffrey, heard nothing back. Ewan’s calls were ignored or cut off, until he phoned from his mother’s phone and a nurse answered to say Jeffrey had not had a TIA or stroke.

On 29 March, Ewan decided to make a formal complaint to PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service), which led to an apologetic phone call from a doctor that day.

Ewan added: “No family should be forced to make a formal complaint in order to get to speak to the doctor in charge of their relatives care.”

Currently, the family have been told, by social services, that no support is available for Fiona when he returns home. As no relatives are able to return home, Jeffrey will not return home until this support can be sourced.

Hywel Dda have been contacted for a comment.

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