Limerick family wants to know why 86-year-old father was operated on

Julian Naughton with his father Patrick in UHL.

A GRIEVING family are demanding answers from University Hospital Limerick after their 86 year old father underwent an operation for cancer they didn’t want him to have.

Patrick Naughton from Castleconnell died on October 4, two weeks after having the operation to remove a cancerous growth.

His family told the Limerick Post that a hospital oncologist had  advised he was too old to recover from such an operation and the best course would be palliative care.

“That is what we agreed to. We were told that this treatment would give him about two more comfortable years but an operation would mean his quality of life could deteriorate rapidly,” Patrick’s son, Julian, told the Limerick Post.

“The oncology doctor told us he might not survive to recover after an operation and those words proved true. He died two weeks later and he was in agony towards the end.”

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Julian said that the first they knew of his father signing a consent form for the surgery was when they arrived at the hospital to hear that the operation was completed and the growth removed.

The family understood that the only planned surgery was a minor procedure to insert a permanent catheter.

He said his elderly father did not suffer from dementia or any other clinical mental deterioration “but he was scared and confused. He suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. If someone came into his room, he didn’t know if it was a doctor or a cleaner.

“We had made it very clear after talking to the doctors that palliative care was the best way to go. His family should have been consulted before he was asked to sign anything.”

The Naughton family are also “disgusted” with the treatment their father received while in hospital.

Julian, who has worked in the hospital himself for 20 years says the family are not going to let any of the matters drop.

“He told staff that a care assistant was being overly rough with him and had dragged him around on three different nights, hurting his shoulder . We were informed after reporting this that the person was an agency worker and that they (management) had contacted the agency but he would be allowed work there under observation.

“I disagreed strongly with this. At this stage the father was crying to get out of there and was afraid in case this person was going to be on any other nights”.

After contracting  COVID-19 and MRSA, Mr Naughton was moved. Julian said “In the 8D ward , the staffing was so severe that a family member was there everyday to feed him his dinner and then someone would stay all day until he went to bed.

“If we rang the bell for assistance we could be waiting for 45 minutes and no nurse would turn up to change him . We were bringing him to the toilet ourselves . The nurses were very apologetic on that ward , but told us that there was only three nurses working on the whole ward .

Julian says his father came out of hospital “a shadow of the man that went in.”

His seven children, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren “will now be facing Christmas without him, when he could have spent a happy time with us.”

After the Limerick Post put the family’s complaints to UHL, a spokesperson stated “UL Hospitals Group would like to extend its deepest sympathies to Mr Naughton’s family on their recent loss. We continue to liaise directly with the family through our complaints process and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”