NHS Crisis: Heart failure mom spent 12 hours in a A&E corridor saw man die on a trolley next to her.


A mum who spent 12 hours lying in a hospital corridor claims she and dozens of other patients witnessed an elderly man who had been waiting on a trolley DIE in front of them.

Disabled mum-of-three Patsy Dee, who has stage three heart failure, was rushed to Swindon’s Great Western Hospitalon Sunday (Jan 8) at 9.30pm after experiencing chest pains.

The 55-year-old, from Cirencester, Gloucs, alleges about 25 people watched a man in his eighties die as he lay on a trolley in the central aisle of a crowded emergency room at the hospital at about midnight.

Patsy, who claims she was forced to wait on a trolley in a corridor for 12 hours after witnessing the traumatic incident in the emergency room, said she was ‘disgusted’ the man had died ‘without dignity’.

The Great Western Hospital confirmed a ‘thorough investigation’ into the death is already underway but said it was not appropriate to speculate until the full facts were known.

Patsy said: “The whole experience was absolutely horrendous. No one should die in front of everyone like that.

“I had literally walked past the man the minute before it happened, and as I did I caught his eye. I nearly stopped and went up to him because he looked so ill, but I thought I would be told I wasn’t qualified to help.

“He was very elderly and frail and he looked to be in his eighties – he wasn’t saying anything or asking for help, but I could tell he was very poorly.

“I don’t know how long he had been there, but in the time I was there I didn’t see anyone come up and talk to him.

“A minute later, he must have died as the doctors suddenly rushed him into the resuscitation area and started pumping his chest. It was like a scene out of a movie.

“It was disgusting he should die on a trolley in the room in front of everyone – there is no dignity in that and for it to happen in front of everyone was just awful.


“About 25 people in the room would have witnessed him dying and everyone in the room could see what was happening in the resuscitation room each time the door opened.

“Everyone deserves to die with dignity, but his death wasn’t dignified in any way. I think they should have given him space in a cubicle at least.

“He was probably someone’s grandad, someone’s dad – it could happen to anyone.”

Patsy, who suffers from heart condition Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, was diagnosed with stage three heart failure in November and recently had her sixth pacemaker fitted.

At 9.30pm on Sunday she began experiencing chest pains and pins and needles in her jaw and was rushed to the Great Western Hospital via ambulance.

She said when she got there she waited on a chair in a cubicle in an emergency room for four hours until 2am before being moved to a trolley, where she remained in a corridor for 12 hours while awaiting test results.

Patsy said she was then transferred to a bed on one of the hospital‘s wards but spent just an hour there before she was discharged.

The mum-of-three claims there were about 12 trolleys in an aisle in the middle of the emergency room, one of which was occupied by the elderly man in his eighties.

She said when the man’s condition appeared to suddenly deteriorate at around midnight he was rushed into a separate room – where doctors’ resuscitation attempts were visible to the waiting patients each time the doors opened – but said another patient later told her the man had passed away.


Patsy said: “Some of the people there that night had been waiting for emergency treatment for 13 hours.

“There were between 20 and 30 people there – everyone waiting on the trolleys in the aisle in the middle of the room, the people in the cubicles and their families.

“The whole situation was really upsetting. Shortly after the old man was taken into resuscitation, someone told one of the other patients sat near me that he had passed away.

“I don’t know what the old man’s name was or what was wrong with him. Apparently his family had been there earlier in the evening but had to leave.

“I’m not blaming the staff in any way – they were fantastic – the hospital just didn’t have the room for everyone.

“I don’t think he was being ignored, people were just so busy and the staff were run ragged, but would people have realised how ill he was if he had been monitored properly?”

A spokesman for Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Great Western Hospital, said: “We have a duty to protect patient confidentiality and as such are unable to provide further information.


“However, as is standard procedure with all hospital deaths, a thorough investigation to determine what happened is already underway.

“It is therefore not appropriate to speculate at this early stage until the full facts are known.

“What’s clear is that like other hospitals across the country, demand for our services has been unprecedented in recent weeks, which is proving a genuine challenge for hospitals like ours.

“We continue to do all we can to see patients as quickly as possible to give them the treatment they may need.”