DEHYDRATION among hospital patients has been under the spotlight this week following the inquest into the death of a man in South London.
Kane Gorny, 22, was admitted to St George’s Hospital, in Tooting, for a hip replacement, but within three days had died of thirst after medical staff ignored both his pleas for water and symptoms of dehydration.
However, his life could have been saved with a simple invention called The Hydrant, which is being rolled out across wards at the Great Western Hospital .
The GWH and Stoke Mandeville, in Aylesbury, are the only two hospitals in the country that provide the hydrants for patients – with evidence showing a significant increase in hydration levels and a dramatic reduction in dehydration-related disorders including urinary tract infections and falls.
Originally introduced on Jupiter Ward at the GWH last October, the Hydrant was invented by Mark Moran, of Hydrate for Health, who came up with the idea after being in hospital for a back operation and finding it difficult to reach for a drink.
It is a hands-free drinks system which helps patients to have access to fluids at all times without having to reach for, or hold their drink. It also enables staff to accurately measure how much fluid a patient is taking in.
Karen Braid, Project Lead Productive Ward at GWH said: “The feedback from patients and staff continues to be positive.
“The key thing is to monitorpatient’s fluid balance. We have been promoting the Hydrant and its benefits to GPs as well.”
In 2009, dehydration was a contributory factor in the deaths of 816 hospital patients in England and Wales according to the Office for National Statistics.
Mark Moran, whose invention is now transforming patient care at the GWH, decreasing the need for patient drips and, in turn, reducing the risk of infection, said: “Kane was able to use his mobile phone to call the police — which means he could certainly have helped himself to water without troubling the nurses at all.
“I receive so many letters and emails from people who tell me the Hydrant has transformed their lives. I am still amazed at how something so simple can make such a massive difference to people, in hospitals, in care homes and in their own homes.”