Poorly Hartlepool mum had to use coat as pillow in Stockton hospital ward after being told none were available

The University Hospital of North Tees
The University Hospital of North Tees

A MUM had to use her coat as a pillow in a hospital ward after being told there were none available when she was rushed in after taking ill.

The Hartlepool woman had to crumple up her coat and lodge it under her head after she was admitted to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.

Nurses told her there were no pillows available to put on her bed, meaning her son had to make a 28-mile round trip back to Hartlepool to fetch one from her home in an attempt to make his mum’s stay in hospital more comfortable.

Hospital chiefs have since apologised and admitted “it shouldn’t have been necessary for her son to bring a pillow from home”.

Today the disgusted 45-year-old supermarket worker, who did not wish to be named, said: “I was shocked.

“You are in the hospital, you are supposed to be looked after, not rolling your coat up as a pillow.

“It’s a good job I had my coat on, and I can’t lay flat.

“I expected a little bit of comfort in hospital.

“I think it’s disgraceful, it’s a pillow for God’s sake, I wasn’t asking for a duck down feather quilt.

“When it comes to something cheap like pillows, what else are they missing?”

The mum-of-three was admitted after her eight-year-old daughter had found her lying unresponsive in bed in the early hours of April 1 with “her eyes rolling”.

Her daughter alerted a neighbour, and paramedics rushed to the scene.

The woman said: “All I can remember is being sat on my couch and the paramedic calling my name.”

She got to the hospital just around 6.15am and had her blood pressure taken, before having a head scan.

Around 11.30am, she was moved on to the emergency assessment unit, where there was no pillow.

She had her blood pressure checked and bloods taken, and she was told she had low blood pressure and low blood sugar.

The woman, who was also given a lumbar puncture and had fluid taken from her spine, added: “There was no pillow and I was thinking ‘what if my head hurts, I’m in for a brain injury’.”

Her 27-year-old son, who had been at the hospital since around the time she was admitted, left his mum and brought a pillow back about 2.30pm.

To add to the family’s inconvenience, the patient’s 23-year-old daughter asked twice whether her mum could go home later in the day but was told she was being kept in.

But after leaving her mum and getting to within a mile from her Hartlepool home at 9.30pm, the daughter received a phone call from the hospital saying her mum could be discharged, sparking another U-turn back to Stockton.

A North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said: “We are sorry this patient did not have a pillow on her bed and we’d like to apologise if this affected her comfort while in hospital.

“All of our beds are modern and it’s possible to raise the back of the bed for support, but it shouldn’t have been necessary for her son to bring a pillow from home.

“Our stocks of pillows are replenished regularly; however on busy departments like our emergency assessment unit they tend to go with the patient when they are taken to other departments for tests, to theatre, transferred to other wards or when they go home in an ambulance, so inevitably they do go missing.

“We’d like to thank her for bringing this to our attention and we’d like to reassure her that additional pillows have been delivered to the unit.

“We have also reminded staff of the arrangements we have in place with our porters who can bring extra pillows to the wards if needed.”