Boy, 11, with blood disorder left unable to shower in “prison-like” hospital

Lynn Kearns told an inquiry her son was unable to shower for weeks while being treated at the Royal Hospital for Children, QEUH campus in Glasgow- even after vomiting on himself

A mum says her 11-year-old son wash vomit off himself while being treated for a rare and deadly blood disorder at a Scottish hospital

A mother whose son had a rare and deadly blood disorder has slammed the “prison-like” children’s hospital he was treated in.

Lynn Kearns said her boy was unable to shower for weeks after the water supply at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow was shut off.

The water supply was cut off after a certain type of bacteria was found in the system, the inquiry heard.

But, Mrs Kearns said her son was unable to wash vomit off himself for days after being sick during treatment.

The Scottish Hospitals Inquiry started hearing evidence Monday as to whether issues at two flagship hospitals contributed to the deaths of two children.

Mrs Kearns’s son was 11 when he was diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening blood disorder in December 2017.

He was treated at the Royal Hospital for Children at the QEUH campus in Glasgow between December 2017 and March 2018.

The Scottish Hospitals Inquiry which started Monday was overseen by Lord Brodie (pictured)



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The inquiry will also investigate deadly issues at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Edinburgh.

The mum told the inquiry her son was treated in his room in Ward 2A, QEUH campus, part of the Schiehallion Unit – where there were issues with running water.

Sick children on the ward had no choice but to wash and drink using bottled water.

Mrs Kearns described the ward as a “prison” with no working entertainment.

She added that food being served to youngsters was “horrendous and unhealthy”.

During a “harrowing” moment on March 10, she recalled staff removing a medical tube from her son’s throat – which caused him to vomit on himself.

The youngster had no access to hot water to wash himself, and the vomit remained on him for days, she said.

Mrs Kearns said: “He had his endotracheal tube removed, however this was a harrowing event and also left him with vomit on his face.

“The first thing he wanted to do was have a proper wash or shower and freshen up.

“This was impossible due to the lack of hot water and showering facilities being out of bounds.

“The whole experience was so unpleasant for him. Even months after, he was having panic attacks and flashbacks to his time in hospital.”

Mrs Kearns said that after pressing staff for better washing facilities, she was given a basin the size of a dinner plate and some warm water two days after her son had vomited on his face.

She said: “The water had been warmed, but I don’t know if it was from the tap or bottled water.

“My 11-year-old son, just hitting puberty, had to stand in the bathroom on a towel and I had to use a plastic cup to try and wash him.

“It was literally a case of me scooping up the water and pouring it over him. He was at the age where changes were happening and he was becoming more conscious about his body, so standing naked while his mum washed him was humiliating for him.”

Mrs Kearns said she could not fault staff at the unit, as they too were “kept in the dark” about the water supply issues, but was concerned about ward hygiene levels.

She said: “The staff were great and it was clear that the problems were out their control.”

She raised questions over what water was being used to clean the wards.

Despite sharing her concerns at the time with the media, Mrs Kearns said water supply issues at the hospital ward remain a problem today.

After taking her son into the same hospital on Monday, she said she spoke to two maintenance workers who are still changing filters on the sink taps every two months, the inquiry heard.

The inquiry in Edinburgh, chaired by Lord Brodie, will continue on Thursday.

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