THE children of an elderly woman who died from coronavirus have called for change after their mother’s “horrific” last days at a Glasgow hospital plunged the family into a “living hell”.

Catherine Grady’s daughters camped out in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary after, they say, their mum’s hospital admission became a “real-life nightmare”.

Sisters Cathie, Roseann and Michelle, who live in the East End, “camped out” in the corridors of ward 18 and 39 for four days terrified to leave their ailing mum after experiencing “serious lapses in care”.

The trio felt their mother was let down and simply “dumped in a ward” to die, left without a blanket and failed to have her claustrophobia needs met.

Cathie, 53, said: “My mother-in-law passed away from coronavirus at the same hospital in February and it was such a peaceful death.

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“I knew when I was dropping her off that she might die but I thought, at least, it would be a peaceful death.

“Hers was just the absolute opposite.

“She really didn’t want to go into hospital and we convinced her.

“When I got there, I kept saying to my sisters I just want to take her home.

“Now I keep thinking ‘did the lack of care contribute to her death?’ We just don’t know.”

The 73-year-old had been fit and sprightly prior to contracting the virus in early September.

Eldest sister Cathie says her mum took the protective restrictions extremely seriously due to her underlying lung condition, COPD, making her vulnerable to the illness.

However, just one day after receiving a positive test result the family made the difficult decision to admit Grady to hospital to help treat her condition.

Glasgow Times:

Catherine Grady died last month at 73

The sisters and their families say they were “under no illusions” the virus could take their mother’s life and hoped medical staff would be able to provide comfort even if they could not get the virus under control.

Cathie said: “At first, she was able to phone us and let us know what was happening.

“We weren’t happy about some of the things we heard but she seemed alright so, we just phoned the hospital to keep up to date.

“The night she was admitted, she phoned to say she was freezing. She had been left without a blanket.

“I phoned to complain, and they fixed it but the issues just kept getting worse and worse.

“On the Saturday, September 11, I spoke to her and she seemed quite distressed then, by the Sunday we had phoned about 30 times for an update and there was no answer.

“We had no communication. It was like you put them in [the hospital] and they’re just forgotten about.”

As the terrified family continued to try unsuccessfully to reach Catherine or NHS staff, they made the decision to forego coronavirus regulation and drive to the hospital.

Once there, they claim, a nurse told them she was unable to answer the phone as she was the sole carer responsible for 11 patients.

They demanded access to the ward from their mother’s consultant and, once there, they didn’t leave – taking it in shifts or resorting to sleeping in the corridor – terrified to leave their ailing mum as her condition deteriorated.

“It was just absolutely awful,” Cathie said. “You could hear nurses complaining about having to work on Covid-19 wards.

“I was trying to hold an oxygen mask to her face as she’s very claustrophobic, we told them she wouldn’t wear it herself someone would have to help her, but they didn’t.

“My sisters and I took turns doing that every minute.

“At one point, I had to tell a nurse to stop singing as she was wandering around singing at the top of her lungs, while my mum was trying to sleep.”

She added: “There were dementia patients walking around naked, food was brought in on trays and just left when these people clearly couldn’t feed themselves, no-one wanted to touch them. They were treated like lepers.

“Watching anyone like that is horrible but seeing your own mother delirious, crying for her mum and not having any help was just the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Glasgow Times:

Cathie Grady slept in the hospital corridor while her mum was ill

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The heartbroken family said Catherine had a large bruise on her head which no staff could explain while bags of fresh pyjamas and home cooked meals delivered to the hospital had gone untouched.

Catherine sadly died on September 16, nine days after being admitted to the hospital.

Now, after laying their beloved mum to rest, the sisters say they are desperate to ensure changes are made for other patients.

“We don’t want other families to go through what we did, to see what we seen,” Cathie said.

“We’re all completely traumatised by it and we just want to make sure it changes for other people because Covid-19 isn’t going away.”

A spokesperson for the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Our thoughts and sympathy are with Ms Grady’s family and loved ones at this very difficult time.

“While we cannot comment on individual patients, we can confirm that senior nursing staff are continuing to liaise with Ms Grady’s family members to address the concerns that they have raised.

“Another meeting is being scheduled and we are keen to work with the family to address any outstanding issues.”

They added: “Glasgow Royal Infirmary, alongside all of our acute hospitals, is facing significant challenges as a result of Covid-19 at what remains an unprecedented period.

“However, at all times, we strive to ensure our patients are treated in a clean, comfortable environment, and our aim is always to deliver safe, effective person-centred care to all individuals.

“This includes daily reviews of safe staffing levels on our wards and identifying areas for improvement.”