Active great-grandmother left ‘delusional and skeletal’ after Royal Free Hospital stay in Hampstead

Great-grandmother Celia Davis returns from Royal Free Hospital slumped in wheelchair on Sepetmber 2

Great-grandmother Celia Davis returns from Royal Free Hospital slumped in wheelchair on Sepetmber 2 this year - Credit: Archant

The family of a 100-year-old who was left delusional and malnourished after a stay at the Royal Free Hospital have backed proposals for GPs rather than hospitals to oversee care of the elderly.

Bright and articulate: Celia Davis celebrating her 100th birthday on April 12 this year, five months

Bright and articulate: Celia Davis celebrating her 100th birthday on April 12 this year, five months before her Royal Free Hospital stay - Credit: Archant

Great-grandmother Celia Davis was a bright and articulate pensioner before being admitted to the hospital in Pond Street, Hampstead, with a chest and urine infection seven weeks ago.

Celia Davis' family have backed proposals for GPs rather than hospitals to oversee care of vulnerabl

Celia Davis' family have backed proposals for GPs rather than hospitals to oversee care of vulnerable elderly people - Credit: Archant

When she returned home last week, she weighed just over six stone and was so delirious she thought she had been kidnapped and no longer recognised her son and daughter.

Her family has lodged a complaint about her “unacceptable treatment” with the hospital’s chief executive.

Celia’s son Spencer Davis, 69, a semi-retired London taxi driver, said: “I think her stay in hospital has shortened her life. She will never, ever go back to the Royal Free.”


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Among the shocking list of complaints, it is claimed the 100-year-old, who is a vegetarian, was regularly served meals containing meat, leaving her unable to eat and skeletal.

At times Celia was left for more than 20 minutes calling for help to use the toilet, with a nurse once telling the family to “let her go in bed, we’ll clean it up later”.

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The family has now backed proposals, announced by health secretary Jeremy Hunt on Monday, for a radical overhaul in care of the elderly to prevent unnecessary hospital stays, including a named GP overseeing treatment.

Spencer’s wife Linda Davis, 68, said: “When you have a really good GP, like we’ve got, it would give my mother-in-law the dignity and care that she deserves, that was not available at the Royal Free Hospital.”

Celia contracted superbug C-Difficile during her hospital stay but her family believe the issues with food and general care led to her deterioration.

The great-grandmother, who was widowed when her husband died in 1952 and raised her two children alone, was finally discharged after medical staff agreed she could be taken home on a stretcher.

But she arrived at her Finchley home “terribly disorientated” after a long journey slumped in a wheelchair in a mini-bus ambulance.

Mrs Davis said: “There’s no doubt in my mind that the lack of care and dignity contributed greatly to her physical and mental decline.”

A Royal Free spokesman said: “A complaint was made on September 3 and a thorough investigation is currently being conducted. A full report will be made to the family as soon as possible.”

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