A retired consultant of Britain's National Health Service (NHS) has angered health officials here by stating that his wife got much better treatment in India than in Glasgow.
Consultant Mark Ziervogel, 70, and his wife Toni, 66, are keen cyclists and had gone to Rajasthan in February when Toni suffered head injuries after a fall. She was shifted to a hospital in Ajmer and then to New Delhi.
AdvertisementAfter receiving the necessary treatment, she was shifted to Glasgow, where the consultant was appalled at the level of cleanliness and service. He says he has been "hung out to dry" by the NHS.
He has nothing but praise for the cleanliness, efficiency and equipment available at hospitals in India where his wife was treated. However, since she was transferred to Glasgow's Western Infirmary, where Ziervogel trained himself, the two have encountered several problems.
The Indian doctor who accompanied Toni is said to be appalled at the dirt and delays at the Western Infirmary.
Toni is reported to be now waiting five weeks for space at the head injury rehabilitation unit. During this delay, her husband said, she fell out of bed and five days later was found to have a fractured jaw.
"Staff have provided Toni with the best care they can given the resources they have," said Ziervogel. But he added: "There seems to be insufficient beds or facilities for dealing with head injury patients."
Recalling the incident in Rajasthan, he said: "We were going down a hill doing about 25 mph. Toni skidded and came off onto the road and banged her head."
With the help of army doctor Claire Gaunt, who was among the group, they turned the back seat of their bus into a stretcher and began the five-hour journey to Ajmer.
Ziervogel said: "The reception at the hospital was superb. The cleanliness made me blush when we saw the Western."
His wife, a former teacher, was seen by a neurosurgeon and given CT scans. As well as suffering severe bruising to her brain, she had fractured her pelvis and spent five days in intensive care before being transferred to New Delhi.
More intensive treatment followed, but the contusions to her brain had left Toni agitated and confused. She struggled to communicate coherently and co-ordinate her movements.
But by March 6 she was ready for the journey back to Scotland. While she was transferred on a stretcher via Paris and Manchester, escorted by a doctor and nurse, Ziervogel travelled home alone.
He said it was more than four hours before his wife was given a bed on a surgical ward, and staff then told him that the hospital was not able to handle patients with head injuries who required rehabilitation.
Nanette Milne, the Scottish Conservative health spokesman, said: "The Lib-Lab pact, despite the best efforts of NHS staff, is running our health service down. We will take politicians out of the running of the NHS and let the professionals do their job."
Shona Robison, the Scottish National Party health spokesman, said that after eight years of Labour and Liberal Democrat government, patients and health professionals deserved an NHS "fit for the 21st century".
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said in a statement: "A critical incident review into Mrs Ziervogel's fall is ongoing and Mr Ziervogel is aware that he will be given an opportunity to contribute to that review."
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