Four patients die from starvation in hospital every day
Statistics released today show that dehydration or malnutrition was linked to 25 deaths every week last year – almost four a day – in NHS and private hospitals, either directly or as a contributing factor.
Data from the Office for National Statistics stated that 155 patients died from dehydration whilst 48 died of malnutrition in 2010.
Another 812 patients were suffering from dehydration when they died and 301 showed signs of malnutrition, but these were not direct causes of death.
Officials who compiled the data said that not every death could be blamed on poor care. Some illnesses like Alzheimer’s can make it very hard for patients to eat or drink.
But campaigners argue that no one in today’s society should be dying hungry or thirsty in hospital.
“These figures are a terrible indictment of our precious National Health Service,” said Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association.
“They represent avoidable deaths. These people needed our care when they were at their most vulnerable.”
Earlier this month, David Cameron said staff should regularly check on patients to ensure that they’re comfortable.
“Patients should expect nurses to undertake regular nursing rounds – systematically and routinely checking that each of their patients is comfortable, properly fed and hydrated, and treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” he said.
His comments followed damaging reports by the Care Quality Commission, which stated that nurses had lost their compassion.