A mum from Crystal Palace has died after her family say she suffered extensive brain damage due to what they think was a “preventable” cardiac arrest in Lewisham Hospital.

Rukkiye Aslan, 56, was rushed to hospital in late March because she was struggling to breathe.

According to her family, she was diagnosed with respiratory failure and multi-organ failure, which they say they were told would be treated quickly.

However, Rukkiye was allegedly left unmonitored whilst in intensive care in Lewisham Hospital – and her family claim this is what led her to go into cardiac arrest.

The family said it then took doctors 19 minutes to resuscitate her.

Rukkiye’s family say she suffered a brain injury due to the lack of oxygen and later died after contracting an infection whilst in a vegetative state.

Nergiz Aslan, Rukkiye’s daughter, said: “Me and my sister went to visit mum on the evening of March 29 and flagged to the nurses that she looked really ill.

“She was struggling to breathe, drowsy, and couldn’t communicate with us, but the nurses said she’s not as ill as we think.

“I left in tears and the next thing I heard she’d gone into cardiac arrest.

“She wasn’t being monitored despite being in multi-organ failure, so no one knows how long she was in cardiac arrest for.”

Rukkiye’s daughters, Nergiz, 23, and Felda, 32, say they had to continuously appeal to keep their mum’s life support on before all the tests on her brain activity had been carried out.

The sisters, who both work in healthcare themselves, submitted a complaint to the PALS team and claim they still not been given a timeframe of when they will receive an answer.

Nergiz added: “When I questioned the ICU doctors, the consultant confirmed that her cardiac arrest was due to a lack of oxygen and that it could’ve been avoided if the nurses had consulted the doctors.

“They said my mum’s deteriorating condition hadn’t been reported – the nurses should’ve informed the critical care team and then this could’ve been prevented.

“We highlighted our concerns and they were ignored – the nurses tried to deal with it themselves instead of escalating the situation to a doctor.

“I’m only 23 and I’ve lost my mum – now I just want them to take responsibility for what they’ve done.”

The family say they were informed by the hospital that there was a nursing staff shortage of almost 50 per cent on the night of Rukkiye’s cardiac arrest and that every single nurse on her ward was junior.

Rukkiye’s family also said the hospital has promised they’ve now put in measures to prevent this happening again.

Nergiz said: “It’s difficult to accept that it took losing my mother’s life for them to learn these lessons.

“My mum’s just another patient for them, but for me she was my everything.

“The attitude I’ve gotten from them offends me because we are real people.

“I hope other people can learn from this to fight their ground if they’re concerned about family in hospital.”

Rukkiye had previously been treated for similar respiratory problems in King’s Hospital and her family believe if she had been admitted there again, she would still be alive now.

A spokesperson for the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, who are responsible for Lewisham Hospital, said: “We cannot comment on individual cases due to patient confidentiality.

“The family will receive a full response to their complaint once we have completed our investigations.”

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