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Family of Ulster Hospital ordeal pensioner Mary Anne Hood demand full independent probe

By Liam Clarke

Health Minister Edwin Poots has been asked to commission a full, independent review into the treatment of a 98-year-old woman at the Ulster Hospital.

Mary Anne Hood, known as Min, endured a seven-hour trolley wait after being admitted to the hospital in Dundonald on Friday, March 7 with pneumonia and kidney problems after a fall.

Mrs Hood's plight was highlighted in the Belfast Telegraph last Thursday. Her family was told on the same day that Mrs Hood had actually suffered a broken back, which was not detected for days.

Last night Rosemary Craig, Mrs Hood's daughter, said she had no confidence in a proposed internal review of the case after staff initially failed to recognise a broken back. She is calling for an outside body to conduct an investigation.

"In order to thoroughly and professionally investigate my concerns I am requesting that you authorise an independent review of the treatment and care that my mother Mrs Mary Hood received in the Ulster Hospital... I have no confidence in the management of the hospital and fail to see how they could produce a fair and balanced report on the care that my mother received," Mrs Hood's daughter wrote in a letter to Mr Poots.

Mrs Craig, a law lecturer at the University of Ulster, also hit out at South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust management, claiming there were "insufficient staff in the accident and emergency department to care for patients in a reasonable period of time and in a safe manner".

She added that, overall, the trust had failed to provide "treatment and care of a satisfactory standard". Mrs Craig said: "The big question is who discovered the broken back and when?"

It was only on Thursday last that Mrs Craig and her husband were told by a consultant that Mrs Hood had a "clear fracture" in her T2 vertebra high in her back.

For much of last week Mrs Hood was unwilling to get up or try her rollator because it hurt her so much, and as a result her mobility reduced. Since the fracture was discovered she has been given Oxynorm, a strong opioid painkiller, and is feeling well enough to get up for brief periods.

Both Mrs Craig and Mrs Hood praised the nursing staff at the Ulster Hospital. "My back is not so bad now," Mrs Hood said. "The nurses couldn't be kinder or nicer and I am very happy here now. It is just a pity nobody discovered the back problem earlier."

A Belfast Telegraph reader for 40 years, she has read our coverage of her case and said "that has been very good. Thank you for caring".

She added. "The nursing staff here give 150% commitment. It is just a pity there is not more of them."


Last week we highlighted the case of Mary Anne Hood, a 98-year-old woman who prayed for death as she endured a trolley wait and unexplained severe back pain in the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald.

The South Eastern Trust complained that our initial report was inaccurate and had distressed staff. It emerged later in the week that her back was in fact broken. The trust has ordered an internal review of the care given to Mrs Hood.

Further reading

I was told mum's X-ray was clear ... four days later I was told she had a broken back

Poots meets pensioner Mary Anne Hood as trust answers criticism 

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