Care for obese 'will improve, say Leicester hospital bosses after death of 34-stone man
Hospital managers have promised to improve care for obese patients following the death of a 34-stone man.
Lee Perry, 26, of Market Harborough, was admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary in November, with a non-life threatening condition caused by inflammation of the spinal cord.
He died three weeks later after suffering a blood clot on his lung. His family claim the standard of bariatric care at the hospital was "poor".
Lee's brother, John, also of Market Harborough, spoke out after reading a Mercury article about new specialist equipment for obese patients at Leicester's hospitals.
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In it, officials said: "We have never had a case where we can't find equipment to keep them safe."
Mr Perry, 30, said: "This is at odds with the difficulties Lee experienced and the battle which had to be fought each day he was in hospital.
"Lee was admitted on November 6, with transverse myelitis.
"He died over three weeks later from a condition which we feel was caused, at least in part, by poor bariatric care."
"At first, Lee was put in a standard bed, which meant he could hardly move, although the hospital did rent in a special bariatric bed.
"Lee also asked for a wheelchair but nurses told him there wasn't one available.
"All this meant his movement was severely restricted."
On one occasion, Lee was wheeled on his bed to the lift, only for the porters to realise it did not fit.
"They suggested they use a bariatric wheelchair, which nurses had previously said was not available," said Mr Perry.
Lee was told he would need an MRI scan. It took doctors until November 20 to find a hospital where it could be completed.
The appointment was made for November 30 – the day after Lee died.
Mr Perry said his brother had to use a bed pan because there were no hoists strong enough to get him to a commode.
"We have spoken out because we don't want any other family going through what we, and Lee, went through," he said.
Kerry Johnston, lead nurse at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “We think there are some things we could do differently to overcome some of the specific challenges involved in caring for bariatric patients in hospital. Senior nurses are due to discuss this shortly and a group of professionals is likely to be established soon to look very specifically at all aspects of caring for bariatric patients in our hospitals.
“I will be speaking directly with Mr Perry’s family about the specifics of his care however, we provided him with a bariatric chair and a specially ordered bed with pressure relieving mattress, these were necessary to reduce his risk of developing a pressure ulcer. Mr Perry was also receiving the appropriate medication to prevent a blood clot as well as physiotherapy. Unfortunately there was a delay in accessing a suitable MRI, which we intend to resolve by making the information about bariatric imaging equipment more accessible.
“I would again like to again offer my condolences to Mr Perry’s family at this very sad time.”