Pensioner's poignant note to medics who let him comfort dying wife

The 93-year-old man expressed his 'eternal gratitude' for the compassion of staff.

A 93-year-old man posted a poignant letter online thanking doctors for treating him and his wife side by side in her dying days.

When the man broke his leg, he feared he would be apart from his wife of 69 years, who had advanced dementia and was living in a care home.

NHS staff ensured he was kept up to date about her progress while he was in hospital, as well as keeping their two Australia-based daughters informed of any developments.

During his convalescence in hospital, he was distraught to discover that his 90-year-old wife had been transferred to Ayr Hospital after that her condition had deteriorated.

He wrote: "As I got stronger and almost seeing the light of discharge I was gently woken one night and told my wife was very poorly and had been transferred to Ayr Hospital.

"One of the auxiliary nurses kindly took me across to Ayr Hospital to be with her and sat with me all night at her bedside offering me support and ensuring I was OK."

The following day, staff at NHS Ayrshire and Arran arranged for the pair to be cared for in the same unit of Ayr Hospital, before they were later transferred to Biggart Hospital in Prestwick where a double room had been set up to accommodate them.

He added: "The care for my wife was excellent and was evidenced by the fact she never once looked like she was in any distress or discomfort and, although she was very thin and frail, her skin was perfect.

"Most comforting to me was the fact that at night they pushed our beds together to create a double and I was able every night to lay holding her in my arms and reassure her I was there, something I had not been able to do for some time since she entered the nursing home.

"But it was not only the care for my wife that was at the forefront of the staff's mind and they would offer to sit with or keep an eye on her and encouraged me to take time away from her bedside even if it was just to go eat a meal in the day room."

He said his wife's death was "made easier" because of the "excellent care of staff" who made it as stress-free as possible.

The man, who posted the anonymous letter on Patient Opinion Scotland, a forum inviting feedback from NHS patients, said: "I will be eternally grateful for the care we all received, for in the end the staff did not only care for my wife and me they cared also for my daughters.

"Most of all I am grateful for the opportunity to have spent the last nights of her life with her in my arms as we had done for oh so many years prior to her leaving for the nursing home."

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