Smokers breaching strict hospital guidelines are endangering the lives of seriously-ill patients at Perth Royal Infirmary, it has been claimed.
The wife of one ward 6 patient contacted The Courier saying she “didn’t know what else to do” after staff failed to stop a man lighting up.
Ann Key’s 64-year-old husband Douglas suffers from progressive chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is being treated on the ward for a severe bronchial infection.
Sensitive to just a whiff of smoke, he has now lost his voice completely.
Mrs Key (62), from St Madoes, said, “I am sick with worry. My husband went into hospital because he was struggling to breathe and then this happens it just beggars belief.”
She said one patient had been openly smoking in the medical short-stay ward over the weekend, despite the concerns of others.
Mr Key buzzed the nurses on a “number of occasions” but they were unable to stop the man, she continued.
“Douglas just doesn’t know what else to do,” she said.
“He is a polite man and doesn’t like to complain but when it’s your life in danger you just have to.
“After a few days of treatment he seemed to be getting better but now this has happened he has gone downhill again.Worried”He should have been getting out at the end of the week but I’m worried that will not happen now.”
Mrs Key said she was surprised to hear the smoke did not trigger any alarms.
“Everyone knows smoking isn’t allowed in hospitals and you would think there were smoke alarms fitted but nothing went off.
“On top of the health risk from inhaling the smoke, many of the patients in the ward are on oxygen, which is highly flammable.
“Something has to be done. I would have thought this was a police issue.”
She added, “It’s a shame this has happened because the care Douglas has received since he was admitted a week ago has been wonderful.”
Legislation, introduced in March 2006, made it an offence to smoke in all enclosed public places.
NHS Tayside’s director of nursing Margaret Simpson issued her apologies but stressed it was an “isolated incident.”
She said, “We are very sorry that this patient has had this experience.
“We are taking these concerns extremely seriously and will be investigating the circumstances.
“However, I can say this is a highly unusual situation.”