FAMILIES have shared heartbreaking accounts of the loss of loved ones in the Glasgow hospital at the centre of a major outbreak of Covid-19.

Gartnavel General is said to have recorded 81 cases of the virus and 25 deaths ‘in a matter of weeks.’ 

A whistleblower has claimed the transfer of elderly patients from the single-room-only Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to Gartnavel, to free up space for Covid admissions led to the virus spreading ‘like a cruise ship.’ 

However, according to health sources, the super-hospital did not end up being overwhelmed with cases, leaving hundreds of empty rooms.

The spate of cases has prompted calls from Labour’s Monica Lennon for the Scottish Government to disclose the number of hospital acquired infections.

David Holgate died on April 19 and his family say Covid-19 was recorded as the cause of death. They say he tested negative for the virus when he was admitted to Gartnavel.

The elderly have been treated like they don't matter.

The 91-year-old was transferred from his care home in Knightswood to the QEUH on March 7 suffering from pneumonia. He recovered but doctors were not keen for him to return to the home until he had regained more mobility so he was transferred to Gartnavel for rehabilitation.

Glasgow Times:

His daughter, Mags, says doctors told the family they were moving her father because there were Covid patients being admitted to the Queen Elizabeth and it was “the safer of the two hospitals.”

While her father was initially put in a single room at Gartnavel, the family say he was moved to a three-bed ward within a few days.

READ MORE: Covid-19 'spread like on a cruise ship' after elderly were transferred to Gartnavel  

They were delighted when a consultant talked about discharging him back to the care home. However, shortly afterwards, according to his daughter, his condition deteriorated and he tested positive for the virus on April 10.

She said: “That virus blew through the hospital like a draught. It was awful.

"When I read the Glasgow Times article, it brought all the raw emotion flooding back.

“By the time my dad was in his last days the ward he was in had gone from no Covid patients to all Covid.  

“When his test came back positive he was in a three-bedded room with two patients that at that time did not have the virus.

“I know this because I called to speak to my dad at 8pm-ish and they were moving him to a different room.

Glasgow Times:

“The nurse that answered told me I could not speak to him he was being moved, as the patients he was sharing room with did not have Covid. 

“The staff were amazing, I really don’t think I could have done their job. Initially I was terrified to go see my dad but I  could not abandon him. I needed to see him and he would have needed to hear my voice. 

“My sister, brother and myself miss our dad. We were robbed of the last few weeks of his life because of this pandemic.

“We thought he would be with us for another few years. He was a tough, stubborn old coot.

“I know my dad was nearing the end of his life but this was not the ending he deserved he died alone with no-one to hold his hand.

“When they called me to tell.me he had passed he had been dead for 30 mins. It has been the worst experience of my life.

“The elderly have been treated like they do not matter but their lives are as important as any other.”

READ MORE: More than 250 NHS frontline workers recruited in Glasgow for vaccine trial

Frances McCarry’s husband Ian, 79, was transferred to Gartnavel General after having hip surgery at the QEUH. 

Her husband has a number of complex medical conditions including Alzheimer’s and Vascular Parkinsonism. However, Frances said she has noticed a  huge decline in his cognitive abilities since he was treated for the virus, which he contracted at Gartnavel. He had previously been living at home.

He was transferred on February 6, before the pandemic took hold, suffering from MRSA and was initially put in a single room.

Glasgow Times:

Around a month later, on March 14, he was put into a four-bedded unit and Frances says he was “shuttled back and forth” between single rooms and other open bays as more patients tested positive for the virus.

She said: “On March 30, Ian was moved to a four bed room. I was told that they were “just moving people about” and also “someone in Room 29 had become quite ill”.

“I was very unhappy about him having been in a ward with someone who had Coronavirus, and I also could not understand how it could even have happened that someone had contracted the virus, as there had been no visitors allowed since March 25 and I knew that the staff had PPE.”

Her husband tested positive for the virus on May 5.

She said: “I am grateful that he has at least been spared the worst symptoms of the virus and above all, death.

“Sadly, however, in the couple of phone calls and Facetime “chats” I have been able to have with him over the past two weeks, including today, I have seen a huge decline in him mentally. 

“It would be easy to argue that this may have happened anyway, given that he hasn’t seen me or his family for over eight weeks now but I know just how animated and chatty he was, even on the day he was first tested, compared to the person he is since he contracted the virus.”

Mrs McCarry added: “I have nothing but praise, admiration and heartfelt gratitude for the care, compassion and professionalism which all the staff have shown to Ian. 

“However, the drive to free up beds, both from the QEUH and Gartnavel, with no regard for the safety and well-being of the patients, has to be addressed publicly."

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: "We would like to reiterate our sincere condolences to those families who have lost a loved one during this pandemic.  We would be happy to have a discussion with any family who have questions about their loved ones care.

"We have followed appropriate infection control processes throughout the pandemic. As the knowledge of this disease has increased we have adapted these processes to reflect updated national guidance."