Dying Scots mum suffering from breathing problems waited 24 hours in A&E for hospital bed

An elderly woman dying of cancer spent more than 24 hours lying in A&E after being rushed to hospital with breathing problems.

Jacqueline Bolton, 71, has stage four ovarian cancer which has spread to her lungs. She is receiving palliative care and knows she is in the last days of her life.

On Tuesday afternoon she was struggling to breathe and her daughter Gillian Bell, 44, called for an ambulance.

An ambulance arrived within 20 minutes and Jacqueline was taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, arriving at A&E about 3pm.

But a full day later she was still lying in A&E because the hospital was unable to find a bed for her. Her distraught family, who were unable to visit her because she was not on a ward, feared she would die alone.



Jacqueline and her daughter, Gillian Bell
Jacqueline and her daughter, Gillian Bell

Labour’s health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “It is absolutely scandalous that someone who has stage four cancer and has been taken to hospital by ambulance is left waiting to be admitted a day later.”

Earlier this week Dr John Thomson, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland, told how data shows there is one excess death for every 82 patients delayed for more than six hours.

The latest figures show 2615 patients were delayed by eight hours or more.

He said: “Each week the Urgent and Emergency Care crisis worsens. Scotland’s Emergency Care system is failing patients who are coming to harm, and failing staff who are overworked, exhausted, and burned out but are left to cover the widespread shortcomings of the health system.”

Gillian was told that the family could not visit Jacqueline in A&E – but after the Record contacted the health board, the decision was reversed.

Gillian said: “The hospital told me because of the length of time my mum had been in A&E we could visit her there after all. But they have still to find her a bed.”

NHS GG&C said: “We apologise to Ms Bolton and her family for any concern caused at what is a very difficult time.

“While we cannot comment on individual patients, we can confirm that contact is being made with the family to further discuss Ms Bolton’s care.”

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Daily Record – Aberdeen