MP Ann Clywd slams treatment of husband left to die 'like a battery hen' in hospital


An MP has described how her husband was treated with “coldness, resentment, indifference and contempt” by staff as he lay dying in hospital.

Ann Clwyd said she arrived on the ward at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff to find her husband, Owen Roberts, lying on the bed, cold and distressed, with just two thin sheets to cover him.

"I have tried in the past to get Bills on the welfare of battery hens. My husband died like a battery hen," the MP for Cynon Valley told BBC Radio 4's The World At One.

"He is 6ft 2ins, he was squashed up against the iron bars of the bed, an oxygen mask that didn't fit his face, his eye was infected and, because the air from the oxygen was blowing into it, his lips were very dry and I used my own Lypsil to try and moisten them. There were no nurses around.

"At eight o'clock, just before he died, all the lights in the ward went on and somebody shouted 'Anybody for breakfast?'. It was obviously totally inappropriate when they knew somebody was dying in that ward. I really do feel he died of cold and he died from people who didn't care.

"I can't believe anybody calling themselves a nurse could let that happen. Nobody should have to die in conditions like I saw my husband die in."

Ms Clwyd said she was speaking out so that other people should not have to suffer in the same way.

"I think it is just too commonplace, this kind of thing," she said.

In a statement to the programme, the hospital's executive director of nursing, Ruth Walker, said they had offered to meet Ms Clwyd so that a formal investigation into what happened could be launched.

"We recognise how distressing it is when family members have cause to raise significant concerns about the quality of care their loved one received whilst also coping with bereavement. We take such matters extremely seriously," she said.

"We will not tolerate poor care which is why it is so important that each incident is fully investigated so that we can drive up standards and provide patients and their families with the quality of care they need and deserve."