Man in hospital calls police for a drink of water, dies from dehydration
A 22 year old who died from dehydration whilst in hospital was so desperate for a drink of water he phoned the police from his bed for help, an inquest has been told.
Kane, who had been a keen footballer and runner until he suffered a brain tumour the previous year, was undergoing a routine hip replacement after life-saving steroids he had been given had weakened his bones.
His mother revealed how she received a distressed phone call from her son the day after his operation, in which he revealed he had called the police because he was so desperate for a drink.
The inquest heard Ms Cronin immediately went to the hospital, where Kane was “confused and angry,” shouting at staff and behaving in an uncharacteristic abusive manner.
Despite expressing her concerns that he was not behaving normally, one doctor asked if he was “coming off booze” and another asked if he was “always like this.”
Due to his condition, Kane needed hormone medication to control fluid levels in his body, but despite repeated reminders by Kane and his family, staff failed to give him the tablets.
He became severely dehydrated but his requests for water were refused and he died on May 28 2009.
He said: ‘I’ve called the police you better get here quickly, they’re all standing around the bed getting their stories straight.’
“They weren’t doing anything. They seemed out of their depth. It felt to me like the two locum doctors were nervous about calling anyone more senior than them, I would have expected them to do that.” Ms Cronin said.
The inquest heard Kane was restrained by security guards and sedated with strong medication to calm him down.
Later, he was put into a side room, where no one visited him for the rest of the evening.
Realising he couldn’t have been given his night-time medication, Ms Cronin asked a nurse when he would be receiving his dose. The nurse promised to flag it up with the night nurse.
But the next day when Ms Cronin arrived at the hospital at 7.45am, she found her son looking “delirious” with swollen lips and tongue.
She told the inquest: “He was lying on the bed on his back. His lips were very swollen and his tongue was swollen. He just looked delirious.
“At that moment three nurses were standing outside the room. I said ‘there’s something wrong with my son’.
“The night nurse said ‘he’s had a good night and there’s nothing wrong with him.’
“I said: ‘He’s not well’ and the other nurse tutted and said ‘She’s already told you he had a good night,’ and with that they walked off.”
It was then Ms Cronin noticed Kane’s tablets sitting on the table by his bed.
Ms Cronin said she then approached the locum doctor, who reassured her everything was fine and it “wouldn’t do him any harm” to miss a dose of his medication.
Unsure what to do to get someone to look at her son, she approached another more senior doctor as he was carrying out ward rounds, the inquest heard.
Ms Cronin said: “He took one look at him and started to call everyone to come in here quickly.
“It suddenly dawned on me he hasn’t had his medication, hasn’t had his bloods done, nobody’s given him a drink, nobody’s bothered to put his drip back on him. Nobody’s done anything since he became aggressive.”
Kane’s family were left outside the room while doctors tried desperately to save his life.
Following his death from dehydration, they were asked to help move his body so a nurse could put a clean sheet under his lifeless body.
Later a nurse asked them “Have you finished seeing your son yet? Can I bag him up now?” the inquest was told.
The death certificate said Mr Gorny had died because of a ‘water deficit’ and ‘hypernatraemia’ – a medical term for dehydration.
»Man, 22, who died from dehydration in hospital rang police for a drink of water
- Hospital let lad die from dehydration (thesun.co.uk)
- Man who died of dehydration in hospital was so desperate for water he called police, inquest hears (standard.co.uk)
- Patient dying of thirst rang 999: Inquest hears of mother’s fury at nurses who neglected son (dailymail.co.uk)
- English man dies of thirst in hospital (news.ninemsn.com.au)
- Hospital patient died of thirst after dialling 999 begging for a drink… but staff turned police away insisting he was ‘fine’ (dailymail.co.uk)
- NHS horror story: neglected patient calls police for water, dies of thirst (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
- Words in the News: Thirst (englishblog.com)
- Know the Effects of Dehydration to Stop Them Before They Start [Health] (lifehacker.com)