A cancer patient has spoken of her "night of hell" in a west London hospital after she was left feeling "in the way" when her bed was given up after surgery.
Kerry Foster, 46, spent a night in "agony" at Northwick Park Hospital stuck in a recovery bay outside theatre after her bed was reassigned while she underwent surgery.
To make matters worse, a nurse then tried to feed the mum-of-two from Yeadin, a yoghurt despite her wearing a wristband alerting medics to her severe milk allergy.
She told getwestlondon the whole experience on Monday (January 22) left her "feeling in the way" even though she had been admitted for "major reconstructive surgery" to treat skin cancer.
"I had a cartilage and skin graft from my ear to my nose and a graft from my abdomen to my ear," said Kerry. "My bed was booked for three nights on Gray ward, for post surgery recovery.
"However, I spent the night in the recovery bay outside theatre along with 10 other post-op patients as my bed had been given away to someone in A&E while I was in theatre.
"I was on the maximum dose of morphine yet in agony all night, but [I] was told no doctor could attend to me as they were all too busy in A&E.
"A nurse handed me an out-of-date yoghurt in the dark to take my medication with, even though I have a severe allergy to milk, which was indicated on all my allergy bands and records."
Kerry continued: "I had to wait until 10am [the following morning] for the surgeon to come and see me and was then told I needed to get someone to come and collect me to take me home as no beds were available for me to stay for my recovery.
"I had no one to collect me at such short notice so was sent home in a cab on my own, less than 24 hours after surgery, while just having been given morphine.
"Patients' lives are being put in danger due to the situations in these hospitals and it needs to stop."
Kerry's "night in hell", as she described it, is one of many in a catalogue of frustrations over a two-year period.
Her basal cell carcinoma skin cancer began as a lump on her nose, which was dismissed as a "wart" when she asked a GP about it, she claims.
She said: "It then changed into a small wound, starting to create a split to my nostril.
"In October 2017, I went to dermatologist for a different skin issue so I thought I'd ask about my nose - she took a look and the doctor diagnosed me there and then.
"I owe her everything really because if she hadn't have told me, at what point would it have been caught? The cancer can spread to the brain and affect the bones."
A biopsy confirmed the lump was cancerous so Kerry was booked in for a partial amputation at Ealing Hospital - but this was cancelled and re-arranged at Northwick Park.
The former Glaxo Smith Klyne PA said: "I feel like I've had to do all the leg work and if it had been caught early it could have been treated with a cream. Now I've had major reconstructive surgery.
"It's just one thing after another. I just felt like I was in the way. I've worked for 28 years of my life, even though I've had kids, I've kept my mortgage going on my own.
"I've done my bit and I've put in, now I just need something back. It's quite a serious health situation and I'm not being looked after.
"I'm not talking about the doctors and nurses here, they all work really hard, it's those higher up making the decisions. All those higher up who make the decisions probably have private healthcare.
"If they had to use the services we do it would change completely - they just don't understand how cost cutting are seriously affecting services."
Matthew Fitzpatrick, divisional general manager for surgery at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, said he was "sorry Ms Foster felt she didn’t have the quality of care she should have received".
"We encourage patients to let us know how we can make improvements, so Ms Foster’s comments are really helpful," he said.
"We acknowledge the nurse should not have attempted to give Ms Foster yoghurt as she was wearing an allergy band, and have arranged for the staff member to have refresher training immediately."
Across the country, "NHS services are very busy, and our hospitals are no exception" said Mr Fitzpatrick.
"We have to prioritise patients with illnesses who need urgent treatment or care," he said.
"So unfortunately that means patients with less serious conditions may have to wait longer to be treated, and for this we apologise.
"We don’t book beds for specific periods of time, as the length of time the bed is needed is dependent on the how quickly the patient recovers.
"I was pleased to see Ms Foster’s surgery proceeded as planned and that she was able to recover so quickly.
"She was deemed medically fit to be discharged by the surgical team but unfortunately no one was available to pick her up from hospital.
"She agreed to take a taxi home, which the trust was happy to pay for in this instance."
Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.
You can set up your app to see all the latest news and events from your area, plus receive push notifications for breaking news.