Centenarian’s ‘four hour wait for surgery’

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A PRIVATE hospital has apologised to a 100-year-old after keeping her waiting for four hours for eye surgery.

Centenarian Ellen James was already worried about having the operation at Bury St Edmunds’ BMI Hospital and her son Roy said the wait left her too upset to go ahead with it.

Roy said: “She was in such a state that she’s said she’s not going back to do the operation. It had taken me three years to get her to get to this one.”

Mr James said the family paid £1,917 for his mother, who lives in sheltered housing in Mendlesham, to have the minor operation privately because her age made it difficult to attend hospital in the mornings, which was the only time available on the NHS.

He said they arrived at the BMI Hospital for a 4pm appointment. “They kept us waiting for four hours, then said it would be another 20 minutes,” he said. “Up to that point, nobody came through to explain or apologise. They just kept saying it would be another 20 minutes or half an hour.

“Nurses said she was a ‘star’ because they’d never had a 100-year-old there, but she wasn’t treated like a star. The consultant had seen her before, so he knew he had a 100-year-old waiting.”

Mr James said the hospital had refunded their money but he added: “I hope they don’t do it to anyone else.”

A BMI spokesman said: “To protect patient confidentiality we are unable to provide information on specific patients. We can say we are aware of a complaint made to the hospital about an elderly patient having to wait for some time before being taken to theatre for their planned surgery.

“This wait occurred in their single patient room where they were cared for by the nursing and catering staff. However, it would appear that during her wait we had not successfully communicated with her and her family about the possible delays.

“We deeply regret and apologise for any inconvenience or distress this may have caused. We have made arrangements to invite the patient back to the hospital to have her procedure free of charge. We hope that this will in some way help remedy the situation.”