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article imageLondon hospital refused to give dying patient glass of water

By Laura Trowbridge     Mar 30, 2010 in Health
After nurses refused to give a glass of water to a patient, despite his pleas, the dying man used his cellphone to call the hospital switchboard to beg for some water.
Derek Sauter, 60, was admitted to South London NHS Trust with a chest infection in June 2008. After poor care he later died of pneumonia in the hospital.
Sauter was admitted to the hospital in the morning, given antibiotics and oxygen, but then he phoned his wife later to tell her that he was not allowed any more water since he knocked his cup over earlier.
Sauter called the switchboard to beg for some water. A doctor was then called to the ward, but a nurse told him that the patient was "overreacting". Sauter never got the water he desperately needed.
A formal investigation is being conducted into Sauter's death, after it was found that his oxygen levels went unchecked for 11 hours and were 35 percent lower than the recommendation.
The patient's daughter, Ruth Sauter said: "His condition was not life threatening, and nurses had specific instructions to keep close tabs on him. But their appalling lack of care, and cruel behaviour killed my father...It's so much worse knowing that he died alone, thirsty and scared on that ward."
The Sauter family is taking legal action against the hospital.
A hospital spokeswoman said: "South London Healthcare NHS Trust would like to apologise to the Sauter family for the failings in care that Derek Sauter received. The trust believes that Mr Sauter did not receive a proper and professional standard of care that he and his family had a right to expect."
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