I made a good recovery following a stroke in December 2014. However, I had to go back into hospital in August 2015 for gall bladder surgery.
After the surgery was performed, I found it difficult to mobilise. I had been given pain relief containing morphine which made me sleepy. I was placed in a chair which unfortunately increased the amount of pressure through my backside.
Unfortunately, I was not observed properly by hospital staff and unbeknown to anyone at first, my skin began to break down on my lower back and buttocks. I was incorrectly assessed using the Waterlow chart system. The scoring did not take into account my previous stroke.
To make matters worse, I was not provided with an air mattress. A pressure ulcer began to take hold.
I was assessed by a Tissue Viability Nurse who suspected a deep tissue injury. Once the pressure ulcer was established, it was bound to break down to a very deep wound.
The nursing staff finally ordered a pressure relieving mattress, but it was not delivered. It took another three days before anyone chased up the missing air mattress.
I was given a cream which is suitable for moisture lesions but does not protect against pressure. It was the wrong choice.
Despite my family raising concerns, I was discharged home. The hospital arranged for me to have a static air mattress delivered to my home. Unfortunately I found out subsequently that this was a mattress for prevention but not fit for purpose in dealing with a high grade pressure ulcer which had already taken hold and was making me ill.
I went to stay with my daughter but really struggled.
After a week I had to be re-admitted to hospital as an emergency. I now had sepsis caused by an infected and necrotic pressure ulcer to my sacral area.
The admitting doctor tried to organise help with the pressure ulcer and sepsis and referred me to three different departments within the hospital but each one refused to take me. Eventually, the spinal unit agreed to take me.
By then my life was in grave danger. The surgeon in the Spinal Injuries Unit carried out surgery to debride my wound. I suffered an acute kidney injury and a pulmonary embolism. I required a blood transfusion.
Eventually, I was discharged home from hospital but was effectively housebound. I could not sit for any period of time. I spent the majority of my day lying down on a sofa in the living room. I was visited daily by District Nurses to dress my pressure wound. They did their best in a difficult situation.
I feel as though I went through hell. The wound did not heal fully until April 2016, some 8 months after the wound developed.
Unfortunately, I am now at significant risk of the wound breaking down in the future. I dread that happening.
I have not been able to return to my former life. Due to needing to be vigilant about protecting the wound, I cannot sit down for anything long than a few minutes. This means that I have been unable to join my family on their annual holiday to Cornwall, as I used to do every year. I am unable to travel long distances.
I want to do all that I can to raise awareness of pressure ulcer prevention. I do not want anyone else to suffer like I have done.
Liability has been admitted by the hospital and we are pursuing redress.