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UK Patient Cleans Her Hospital Room

From the UK’s Daily Mail:

Colchester General Hospital

Hospital patient so shocked at dirty ward she climbed out of bed to clean it herself

By Andrew Levy
3 July 2009

After 12 years cleaning care homes and private houses, Tereza Tosbell has a keen eye for a dirty room.

But the last place she expected to need her skills was in hospital – where she was a patient.

The sick 48-year-old was so disgusted at the conditions after three days on a ‘filthy’ ward that she grabbed the antibacterial fluid dispenser at the end of her bed and some hand towels from the bathroom.

Patient Tereza Tosbell was so disgusted at the cleanliness at Colchester General Hospital that she got out of bed and cleaned the ward herself

She set about cleaning her four-bed ward, even going down on hands and knees to sanitise the floor as she dragged her drip trolley behind her.

The divorced mother-of-one said during her four-day stay there was just one brief visit from a cleaner who left dusty curtains, dirty bedframes and a messy floor.

‘It was shameful to see how sloppy the cleaners were while I was there. I was not prepared to put up with such conditions,’ said Miss Tosbell, who was admitted to Colchester General Hospital in Essex with an abscess in her neck.

‘I reckon in total I was cleaning for about an hour. I could hardly move my neck because of the abscess behind my left ear and my left hand was bruised from the cannula but I had to do something.

‘The nurses and other staff saw what I was doing but just left me to get on with it.’

She added: ‘My 22-year-old son Liam came to see me on the first night and the first thing he said was "Have you seen how filthy the lift is?" before complaining about the room I was in.

‘He’s a typical university student, so coming from him it must have been bad.’

A spokesman for Colchester General Hospital said staff took hygiene responsibilities seriously…

Miss Tosbell, from Stanway in Colchester, was admitted to the hospital on June 15 after her GP became concerned at the lump on her neck. Doctors decided to keep her in to run tests before lancing the abscess.

On the first day of her stay, she said a cleaner turned up for less than two minutes to wipe the sink with tissues and a spray.

On the second day a male nurse raised a patient’s bed and briefly wiped it down using tissues from the bathroom and tap water.

That evening the same nurse and a female colleague cleaned a recently vacated bed, again using water not antibacterial fluid.

Miss Tosbell, who cleans private houses but used to work as a carer in a home for those with learning difficulties, said: ‘I never saw the ward Hoovered or a mop and bucket during my stay.

‘The radiator was filthy, there were cobwebs on the curtain rail round my bed and you could write your name in the dust on the windowsill.’

The Patients’ Association yesterday said what Miss Tosbell had experienced was ‘nothing unusual’.

Its director Katherine Murphy said: ‘Where there should be round-the-clock cleaners there will be one who is going round three or four wards and can only skim the surface.’

A Colchester Hospital University NHS spokesman said: ‘In the annual health check ratings for 2007-2008 we scored maximum marks for safety and cleanliness and we have also been praised for our very low levels of infections such as C. difficile and MRSA.’

Coming to a hospital near you.

(Thanks to Rocketman for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, July 3rd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “UK Patient Cleans Her Hospital Room”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    This is already common in metropolitan hospitals. I know the intent of the article is to illumine the horrors of socialized medicine, but we’re already there, in this case. For example, I suggest you take a tour of Grady Memorial in Atlanta. Just make sure you wear at least an N95 particulate mask, if you value your health.

    It’s common knowledge that it isn’t the operation or disease that kills patients in American hospitals in this advanced and modern age …. it’s the inability to keep these places clean enough to prevent the immediate spread of non-combatable contagions. MRSA is only one example. \

    But nationalize our healthcare system and the janitorial staff will be public servants.

    What more chilling thought could there be but illegal aliens as civil servants?

  2. GetBackJack says:

    Here – just this morning – http://www.kdvr.com/news/kdvr-rose-hepatitic-070209,0,3725110.story

    Hospital worker may have exposed thousands to hepatitis C.

    (worker, not employee, btw)

  3. Reality Bytes says:

    “Hey! That’s Cool! Patients cleaning hospital rooms! Now That’s Taking Initiative! Controls Costs!” – B. H. Obama

    Wanna control healthcare costs? Get a group of RN’s & CNA’s in a room. They’ll tell ya. I know. I lived it helping my Dad through his last years. Only the strong survive the system.

    • GetBackJack says:

      Dear RB – that is EXACTLY right. Only the strongest survive the system.

      If any of you value your life, learn to take care of yourself.

  4. nuthingbettertodo says:

    I guess I’ll repost from the CBO story now that this is more fitting…I know this is a little off topic but I had to stick this in here. I found this while linking fom a totally unrelated story (about Gwyneth Paltrow opening her big mouth again). The story is from ‘07 in the UK but current related stories on the side bar…


  5. tranquil.night says:

    This must have been why Bam said he had a minor vested interest in tightening up malpractice laws.

    “Only the strongest survive the system. If any of you value your life, learn to take care of yourself.”

    It’s government-induced natural selection! ‘Breeding the humanity of the future – hopefully we get X-men before China’ -new United States of Entertainment slogan.

  6. jobeth says:

    Going back to my husband’s father’s stay in Kent, it was only slightly better.

    They only have wards with about 10 patients in the area of possibly 1 1/2 rooms here in the states. Think about that.

    Patient in the next bed has a cold…guess how many get it…when they are already in a weaken state. With that much over crowding and never a bed empty…stuff everywhere…just how much cleaning can they do? That ward was on the other side of a 3/4 high wall that housed just as many women. Think of the play day all those germs and viruses had jumping that wall between the two wards. That’s at least 20 people trapped withing an area of about 3 hospital rooms in the US.

    Now add to that mix all the families coming in to visit their family and friends…bringing all their own health issues to share with the already weakened patients.

    Oddly…(sarc)… Dad contracted some kind of bug and so he “took up” a private isolation room for the 6 wks it took for him to starve to death. How inconsiderate of him!

    And like the story…I don’t remember ever seeing the daily routine cleaning either. We spent a LOT of time with dad so we should have seen it.

    One more interesting thing. During this past year I had to have a short stay of 3 days in our local hospital. It wasn’t fancy…just an ordinary room…but did happen to be private as are all the rooms in this hospital.

    My Brit husband came in and I noticed him sitting there…looking all around….When I asked him what he was looking at…his answer was….”How did you rank a room like this?” That says volumes about the hospitals there. He had no idea what the inside of the average US hospitals are like.

    On my first trip over…my sister in law…knowing I worked in a hospital…proudly took me to her nearby hospital when she needed to see a doc about her daughter. umm.

    They just don’t know the difference at all over there, for the most part.

    Having said all that…the US has it’s share of nasty hospitals. And as Steve said…more of the same “coming to a hospital near you” !

    • Lisa22 says:

      Hey Jobeth,

      I totally agree with you about the hospital care – when I lived in the UK, I went to get an endoscopy (tube down the throat) and was told “you will do fine without anesthesia.” Just a numbing spray on the throat, right? Was I stupid, I said okay, fine. They strapped my arms down and let me tell you, it was a traumatic experience!! I was crying horribly and shocked for days. When I told a gastroentologist here in the U.S. about it, he insisted on telling his nurses about my “medieval experience.”

      Yes, that’s what’s coming, folks, if Obama gets his way. And I know we have horrible county hospitals (like the Martin Luther King hospital in L.A. that was closed), but that will be nothing compared to what we will get all over the country. And my hairdresser said to me, “that will never happen here!” Huh.

    • jobeth says:

      “that will never happen here!”

      Did you pluck one of her ostrich feathers from her tail for your new hat?
      That’s what I think of when I see people like her.

      I’ve been watching Sarah Palin’s news conference…in it she said something about Americans being apathetic and falling in line. Your hairdresser is the personification of that apathy.

      Speaking of Sarah…let me be the first to stand by her! I respect her just as much now as before. Looking forward to the thread on this.

    • Lisa22 says:

      I know…I think it is more about denial – it’s safer that way, isn’t it? At least they can reverse the cap and trade bill if it goes through (of course after it’s done untold damage to all our lives), but the health care bill would be almost impossible to reverse.

      Yes, I like and respect Palin too – hope she continues to freak all the liberals out:)

  7. U NO HOO says:

    I’m tellin ya, just isolated incidents. I mean, how many people die in hospitals? Don’t ya know no one but the rich can afford health care?

  8. Petronius says:

    jobeth: “They only have wards with about 10 patients in the area of possibly 1 1/2 rooms here in the states. Think about that.”

    That’s right––crowded wards only, not the semi-private rooms or critical care rooms that are found in American hospitals. Most Americans would be shocked at the crowded conditions in NHS hospitals, the lack of privacy and lack of care.

    jobeth: “Now add to that mix all the families coming in to visit their family and friends…bringing all their own health issues to share with the already weakened patients.”

    So true. And add to that the Muslim visitors who refuse to use the hand sanitary dispensaries because they contain alcohol.

    jobeth: “I don’t remember ever seeing the daily routine cleaning either.”

    Yes, and do you ever remember seeing the doctors come through the ward?

    NHS is a fine system so long as you are relatively young and fit and there is nothing seriously wrong with you. But if you have a real problem, then good luck, mate!

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