Get me home!

Wednesday April 22nd 2020


Bill Hudson with his wife Carol who has inoperable tumours and is receiving palliative care at East Lothian Community Hospital

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A terminally-ill woman begged her husband to get her out of hospital isolation after family visits were stopped due to Covid-19.

Bill Hudson has been calling on health chiefs in East Lothian to let him visit his wife Carol, who is in East Lothian Community Hospital, in Haddington.

And he has revealed his anguish after Carol, 55, from Gullane, made a desperate call to him this week pleading “I want to come home.”

Bill Hudson had been allowed to make brief 20-minutes visits to see his wife Carol when she was transferred to the hospital from a hospice towards the end of February.

However, those visits stopped at the start of this month and he has not seen Carol since Monday, April 6.

Carol has been battling cancer for six years and is receiving care for a second inoperable tumour at the hospital.

Husband Bill fears the mother of two, who worked as a physiotherapist assistant at the former Roodlands Hospital in Haddington, which was replaced by the new community hospital, could be facing her final weeks alone and has appealed to health chiefs to let him visit her.

Now he says the isolation has left Carol desperate to get home to Gullane.

He said: “I hadn’t heard anything from Carol for three or four days as her phone isn’t always charged, but she must have managed to charge it on Monday and called me asking “when are you going to pick me up”.

“She said “I want to come home”, it was just devastating and so worrying.

“All the medical equipment we had in the house to support her was returned to ensure it could be used by others while she is in hospital, now I have to work out what to do next.

“If I was just able to visit her I know it would be easier on her and me. As it is I just feel helpless.”

Carol, who has two sons, Kieran, 23, and Connor, 25, has raised hundreds of pounds for Maggie’s Centres despite her condition over the last few years by taking part in fundraising Culture Crawls in Edinburgh.

When she took part in the sponsored event two years ago she spoke of her drive to support Maggie’s, which had helped her when she was diagnosed with her tumours despite her condition.

Dr Tracey Gillies, Medical Director, NHS Lothian said: “We cannot comment on individual cases without patient consent, but would urge the family member to contact the senior charge nurse at the hospital to discuss their concerns.

“NHS Lothian, in line with national guidance, has suspended patient visiting to limit the spread of coronavirus and to protect vulnerable patients, as well as staff.

“Visiting does take place in specific circumstances, including for patients receiving end-of-life care, for inpatients in our children’s services and those accompanying partners during childbirth, with arrangements assessed on individual patient needs.

“We recognise that this is a difficult time for patients and their families which is why staff across our services have been working hard to ensure that patient can still keep in touch with their loved ones through a range of interventions such mobile phones and iPads.

“While this will never replace face to face visiting, it does offer some comfort as patients are able to both hear and see their loves ones.”

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