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Anguish of daughter waiting for hearing over father's death

PUBLISHED: 12:13 01 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:47 25 August 2010

DEATH: Derek Sauter.

DEATH: Derek Sauter.

A GRIEVING daughter has been living through two years of anguish after her complaint against the nurse who allegedly refused her dying father a glass of water remains outstanding.

A GRIEVING daughter has been living through two years of anguish after her complaint against the nurse who allegedly refused her dying father a glass of water remains outstanding.

Derek Sauter, 60, was admitted to Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup (QMS) with a chest infection in June 2008, but 22 hours later, he was dead.

As we exclusively revealed in the Times in November 2008, Mr Sauter was allegedly put in a side room without the appropriate monitors which meant staff did not notice his oxygen levels dropping. He is said to have asked for water and was ignored and at one point was so distressed he called a doctor from his mobile phone.

The nurse is charge Caroline Lowe, was sacked from the Trust after the incident on June 27, 2008, but she is still awaiting a hearing before the Nursing and Midwifery Council. (NMC)

His daughter Ruth Sauter said: "The NMC investigation is ongoing. The case was heard before an investigating committee on March 10, which decided that there was a case to answer and it was referred to the conduct and competence committee.

"As of yet we are still awaiting a date for that hearing. This is nearly two years since she was initially referred to the NMC by both the Trust and my family.

"We are appalled at how slow the NMC have been in dealing with this case and also at how bad its communication is.

"They have repeatedly ignored letters, phone calls and emails, including a letter I recently sent to the chief executive and from which I received no response to. Not even an acknowledgement.

"In the meantime, Nurse Lowe could still practise if she wanted to, with no restrictions imposed on her at all. There are no real developments, just continued anguish and frustration on our part."

Miss Sauter said there were no recorded observations on her father between 7.30pm and 6.15am. She said when nurses told Nurse Lowe her father was deteriorating at approximately 5am, she did nothing instead of calling a doctor. He died at 7.20am.

Chief executive of the Trust at the time, Kate Grimes, wrote to the family and told them that Nurse Lowe was no longer employed by the Trust as she was "unable to put forward any defence for her actions or omissions."

A spokesperson for the NMC was unavailable to comment at the time of going to press.

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