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Grieving granddaughters shown wrong body at Darent Valley Hospital
THE GRANDDAUGHTERS of a pensioner who died at Darent Valley Hospital were shown the wrong body following a series of blunders.
Jean Simmons, who lived in Dartford for 65 years, was taken to the hospital on April 3 in 2010 complaining of stomach pains but was sent home the same day after being diagnosed with "musculoskeletal" pain.
She returned eight days later on April 11 with more abdominal pain and vomiting and was admitted to a ward.
An urgent CT scan was requested on April 12 but this was not carried out until April 15 where it was decided she should have surgery.
The 81-year-old's bowel had burst during the time she waited for the CT scan and she died on April 18.
To make matters worse, Mrs Simmons' granddaughters, Rebecca and 23-year-old Judith, were shown the wrong body when they went to say their final goodbyes in the hospital's Chapel of Rest.
Rebecca told News Shopper: "We arranged a time for two or three days after she passed away.
"We got there a few minutes late but said who we were and they said everything was ready and we should go through."
The women walked into the room, which was decorated with candles and flowers, and went over to a glass window to see their nan.
Miss Simmons said: "We had never seen a dead body before. We were looking at this body and thinking 'this doesn't look like gran at all.'
"We wondered if that's what happened when you died."
They soon realised it was not their grandmother and informed "horrified" hospital staff.
The 25-year-old added: "It really creeped us out. It gives me goose bumps now thinking about it.
"I couldn't sleep that night, it was awful."
The hospital apologised to the family at the time for the mix up and assured them systems were in place to make sure it never happens again.
Last month Mrs Simmons' son, Paul, received compensation after the hospital admitted "breach of duty and causation" concerning his mother’s care.
Mr Simmons, of Tile Kiln Lane, Bexley, told News Shopper: "The basic problem is the delay in the scan.
"The solicitor says effectively that caused her death because if that scan had been done on the day as requested, or even the day after that, on the balance of probability she would have survived.
"She would have been taken to theatre before her bowel burst. It was completely incompetent."
Mr Simmons says it was "sheer luck" he found out his mother was having an operation on April 15 as staff failed to call him and he arrived while she was being prepared for theatre.
The 52-year-old said: "The last thing she said to me was 'pray for me' and I said 'yes I will'.
"If I was five minutes later that contact would have been denied to us. There was a lack of communication and a lack of systems."
When he visited his mother the following day he was only then informed she was in intensive care.
A hospital spokesman said: "Mr Simmons claim has now been settled for the full amount of £5,000.
"We have given Mr Simmons a full account of events during his mother’s stay, in response to his complaint.
"We have offered Mr Simmons our sincere apologies for the distress caused by these events."