My mum waited two days with broken neck for hospital ward - than had head shaved without asking

Lorraine Rothwell says her 79-year-old mother is ‘locked in a nightmare’ and has reported Aintree Hospital to Merseyside Police.
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Police are investigating after a woman said her elderly mother’s hair was ‘butchered’ without permission after a hospital failed to spot she had a broken neck. Lorraine Rothwell says her mother, 79-year-old Kathleen Blank, is ‘locked in a nightmare’ after Aintree Hospital missed her broken neck and shaved off her hair without asking.

Lorraine said her mum was admitted to Aintree at approximately 5:30am on February 17 after suffering a fall at St Nicholas Dementia Village. After a CAT scan and blood tests were completed, Kathleen was diagnosed with a left sided rib fracture and discharged from hospital around 1:30pm.

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An hour later, A&E contacted the care home with a 999 call for Kathleen and arranged an immediate return to hospital. Lorraine said the hospital told her they had missed something on the CAT scan and subsequently discovered her mum was suffering from a stabilised fracture to the skull and a sub arachnoid haemorrhage to the brain.

The nightmare continued for Kathleen’s family as she waited over two days to be placed in a hospital ward - spending 37 hours of the wait on the Resus unit. During this period Lorraine said she was contacted by a consultant who told her Kathleen’s condition had ‘stabilised’.

On Lorraine’s next visit, she found her mum in bed with a spinal collar fitted. In her own words, this prompted Lorraine to ‘freak out’ because she knew what it meant. She said: “I have worked in healthcare for over 20 years so, when I saw my mum I immediately thought she’d suffered a broken neck.

“How could this be? I told the care assistant to get the consultant to the ward so I could question what had happened. They apologised profusely and said they’d ‘missed it’. ‘It’ being a fractured neck. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Needless to say, something like this goes beyond just an apology especially when you consider my poor mum was lying around for two days with a broken neck and no support.”

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Kathleen remains in Aintree Hospital now since being re-admitted and experienced a few weeks of relative calm. This was broken when Lorraine visited her mum on Wednesday morning (March 13) and was confronted with a new ‘disaster’.

Lorraine said she walked into the ward and was shocked to see what happened to her mum. She said: “They cut my mum’s hair off and I was just in disbelief. Again, I asked to speak to someone and they said a health worker had just cut my mum’s hair off. I feel like my mum has been assaulted. Her hair looks like it’s been butchered. I’ve been in the healthcare profession for many years and you never ever take someone’s choices away. I feel like my mum’s choices were obliterated.”

Kathleen Black in Aintree Hospital. Image: LDRSKathleen Black in Aintree Hospital. Image: LDRS
Kathleen Black in Aintree Hospital. Image: LDRS

Lorraine has since contacted Merseyside Police and lodged a formal complaint. Police have now confirmed they are investigating the report and ‘enquiries are being undertaken’ to understand the circumstances.

A spokesperson for Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have apologised to the patient’s family for any distress caused and have remained in regular contact since the patient’s admission a month ago to address any questions the family may have. We are aware of an issue that has been reported to the police this week and we are assisting them with their enquiries.”

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Asked what her thoughts are on the current state of the NHS, Lorraine said: “At this moment in time, the NHS is on it’s knees. I feel numb. I feel heartbroken. But if I give my energies to those emotions I’d be failing my mum because I need everything I’ve got to help her.”