Family’s dismay at wait for GP to verify death

Connie Fry
Connie Fry

A distressed family has said they feel “let down” by the NHS after they were forced to wait nearly six hours for a GP to confirm their elderly mother’s death.

Constance Fry, who was known to her friends as Connie, died at around 8.30pm last Monday at an Ince care home but her devastated relatives were forced to wait until the early hours of the next day for a doctor to arrive.

Connie’s daughter Christine said she has been left very upset by the incident.

She said: “My mum was coming to the end of her life and her condition had declined rapidly over the weekend.

“Because she was in a care home, they put together a statement of intent which means there is no need to involve the police or the coroner because she was coming to the end of her life. There was also a do not resuscitate order in place.

“We got all of that sorted so that when she passed away we just had to contact a GP to come out to confirm her death and the time of death.

“Because it was in the evening we had to contact the out of hours service through NHS 111 and he took six hours to come so my mum was left lying in her bed because the care home couldn’t release the body.

“We asked how long they were going to be and initially they said four hours but 12.30am came and went and no one came so I phoned again but we couldn’t speak to anyone but the receptionist.”

Christine was also unhappy with the way the receptionist spoke to her family and refused to put her through to the doctor.

She said: “He said he would speak to him himself and get back to us but by 1.30am he still hadn’t spoken to the doctor and so my daughter told him that he should tell the doctor that if no-one had arrived by 2am she would go to Clare House to speak to him herself to find out what was going on. The receptionist said he wasn’t gong to tell anyone such threats. He was argumentative and confrontational. He just kept telling us that there were patients waiting but he wouldn’t let me speak to anyone else.

“I am going to submit a formal complaint about what happened. The doctor didn’t come until gone 2am and all that time my 88-year-old mother was lying in her bed and rigor mortis had set in.

“It is just the last thing you want when your mum has just died. I feel totally let down by the NHS. The care home staff were absolutely fabulous, they could not have done more.”