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Cupboard Cruelty Case Closed


Patient Spent NINE Hours In A Cupboard Because Hospital Wards Were Full

Great Britain –

Ian Semmons, 65, was disturbed throughout the night by apologetic nurses needing medical supplies.

A patient suffering from a serious infection spent nine hours in a hospital storeroom because all wards were full.

Ian Semmons, 65, was stunned when a porter told him he was being taken to a “cupboard” for the night. He was repeatedly Disturbed by nurses retrieving bandages, dressings and other kit from the cramped room.

When questioned about the worrying incident, the hospital’s chief executive Anna Dugdale admitted she wouldn’t want her mum to be treated there.

Dad-of-two Ian, who served as a panel member on the General Medical Council for 11 years, said: “This just isn’t good enough. I’d be embarrassed if I was in charge of this hospital. They called it a treatment room, but it served as a storage area and the room had no windows and only had bright lights. The nurses were coming in quite often and were very apologetic They had to move my bed at times to get to the supplies. The fact they gave me a complaints form when I arrived on the ward shows the situation is totally out of control.”

Ian was admitted to the £229 million Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after suffering an infection following a routine procedure. He spent four hours waiting for a doctor to diagnose the problem before he was finally admitted to the storeroom at 2.30am.

Ian, who set up the influential national charity Action on Pain, was only moved onto the ward when a space became available nine hours later. After 27 hours nil by mouth he underwent surgery to correct the cause of his infection.

Ian added: “I spent five days at the hospital before I was allowed to go home. I have had some excellent treatment in there and the treatment has been fabulous, but this incident shows that things are going wrong. The nurses on the ward were superb, but they were placed in an impossible situation.”

The 953-bed hospital was criticized in February 2010 when OAP Rhoda Talbot, 85, also had to spend a night in a storeroom.

Ian, of Shipdham, Norfolk, plans to complain to healthcare regulator the Care Quality Commission about his treatment on July 14 this year.

He added: “Four and a half years and they are still content to put someone in a cupboard or what they call a treatment room. “It is totally unacceptable and it is quite ridiculous. I’d have thought they’d have come up with a solution to avoid that in that period of time.”

Chief executive Ms Dugdale said A&E admissions have shot up from 54,000 in 2008/09 to 68,000 this year. She added: “I wouldn’t choose this for my mum, but I wouldn’t want her in the car park either. I would want her in the hospital. It’s really tough for everybody. We are not able to do everything we would like to do for every patient at the moment and that makes me very sad. Our ability to accommodate all our patients depends on how many people turn up and how many people we can get out of the back doors.”

A hospital spokesman said treatment rooms are used as extra bed space when hospital wards fill up. The dialysis unit and clinical teaching spaces are also used for overflow.

The spokesman said: “At the time that Mr Semmons came to hospital we were already fully occupied caring for other patients. We do not, however, turn away patients who need emergency admission. If necessary, when all our wards are full and more patients need our care, we implement an escalation plan and care for patients in what are known as escalation areas. These are areas of the hospital that are not routinely used to accommodate patients but they allow us to safely care for all the patients needing our services.”

Found at :

Kept in a cupboard all night,

It must have been quite a fright,

In a store room,

Among mops and brooms,

It certainly wasn’t all right.


There was no room in the ward,

So another place was explored,

It wasn’t the best,

For a place to rest,

But that’s where he had to be stored.


He spent nine hours in there,

And nobody seemed to care,

Disturbed in his bed,

Soon word of it spread,

It was really too much to bear.


The old man was really ill,

He couldn’t be cured with a pill,

Upon an inspection,

They found an infection,

The battle was surely up hill.


An operation took place,

But not in that tiny space,

The docs cured the fellow,

While drugs made him mellow,

Their work was his saving grace.


The papers shortly got word,

Incompetence was inferred,

With great admonitions,

About the conditions,

Which really should not have occurred.


The officials said what they said,

They didn’t have sufficient beds,

The wards were all full,

They weren’t being cruel,

A condition they certainly dread.

© 2014 Ronald J. Yarosh

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