The reports last week of Kane Gorny’s final hours beggared belief.
The 22-year-old had been admitted to one of the UK’s top teaching hospitals for hip replacement surgery, but within three days he’d died of thirst, after medical staff ignored both his pleas for water and the symptoms of dehydration that experts say are ‘easy to recognise’.
When Kane, in desperation, rang 999 on his mobile, a policeman who responded to his call witnessed him shouting repeatedly to the nursing staff: ‘Can I have some water?’
Kane had a form of diabetes that hampered his body’s ability to retain fluid.
Yet the response of doctors and nurses on the ward was to sedate him, without giving him intravenous fluids or monitoring him as he lay unconscious.
First and foremost, there has been widespread condemnation of the extraordinary inhumanity of staff who refused water to a dying man left immobile and unable to get out of bed as a result of surgery.
Equally alarming, however, is that these healthcare professionals failed to recognise the symptoms of dehydration, or to appreciate the significance of his desire for water.
Instead, according to the coroner, nurses ‘felt he had a fixation with water’.
The story has appalled health campaigners.
‘What on earth do they teach nurses and doctors today if not the fundamental importance of keeping patients hydrated?’ says Roger Goss, co-director of Patient Concern.
‘It’s completely unbelievable that the dangers of dehydration — known to every mother — are not being inculcated in the nursing profession.
‘Every health professional should be making it a top priority to keep patients properly hydrated.’
Worryingly, Kane’s tragic death is an extreme example of a far more widespread problem: patients simply aren’t getting enough water.
‘We’re all aware of the importance of drinking plenty of water, as it’s essential to digestion, absorption of nutrients and the elimination of toxins and wastes,’ says dietician Rick Wilson of the British Dietetic Association.
‘Yet healthcare staff too often ignore the huge importance of hydration for hospital patients.
‘Hospitals today are hot, dry buildings where people can become dehydrated quickly anyway.
‘Add to that the fact that many patients are recovering from surgery that is frequently preceded by several hours of “nil by mouth”; they may have multiple disorders affecting hydration levels; or they may be confused, unwell or physically unable to sit up and help themselves to a drink.’
Without water, even a healthy person’s body starts to feel the effects within hours, especially in hot weather.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2177969/How-hundreds-patients-dying-thirst-hospital-The-story-22-year-old-died-hospital-dehydration-shocked-Britain-But-tragedy-horrifyingly-common.html#ixzz21XeBC8Yi