I am visibly shaking and feeling sick

I am really upset! When my wife was discharged from hospital on 9th July she had several bruises on her arms where she had needles inserted for drips and some where they kept taking bloods for testing. They started off almost black and gradually faded to purple and now are hardly visible. In fact, you need a decent strong light to see them at all. This morning she asked the carers if they would put some Sudocrem on them to get rid of the barely visible marks but the carers said its not necessary but we need to take photographs of them to cover ourselves. Then just before lunch we received a phone call from an unknown number. It was a woman from social services. They told me quite abruptly that they did not want to talk to me but wanted to speak to my wife on her own without me in the room. As my wife has learning difficulties following a brain injury, she did not understand some of the questions they were asking her so of course she called me to help her. The lady was very suspicious of me and wanted to know (quite bluntly) how my wife had acquired the bruises. I told her they were from when she was in hospital and they had started off very prominent but now you can hardly see them. She insisted on me describing the colour and shape of the bruises which are now virtually indistinguishable from her normal skin colour unless in a very strong light. It was obvious that she was questioning my care of my wife and thought the bruises were my doing! Bloody cheek! I have loved and cared for her for 44 years married life and now some busy body social worker is sticking her nose into our business looking for things she suspects I may be doing in her own mind which are frankly total fantasy and quite ridiculous. I am really annoyed that after ignoring us for years, suddenly they are interfering in our lives. First they would not let Sue out of hospital until we had home carers set up (who cost us £500 every month to have) and now they seem to suspect I am some kind of wife abuser. At the end of the phone call they grudgingly seemed to accept my reasons behind the barely visible bruises. Its upset me so much I am visibly shaking and feel sick and wondering if they really have accepted what we tell them or not. You hear stories where meddling social workers have been involved in removing children from their parents care and stories of where they have left kids in the care of bad parents and also of social workers splitting up elderly married couples who have been together for almost a lifetime and putting them in different care homes. Its a heck of a worry and a travesty of what social workers are supposed to be doing in the job. Do I let things lie and hope they have accepted our reasons or do I ring the council and complain? Not sure what to do for the best but its upset us both a lot.

Hi Redridge

First off, welcome to the forum.

Now - take a deep breath. Seriously. I’m going to start by explaining what I think happened. You’re using a new care agency who don’t know you well enough yet to understand what’s going on. This is the time when they are at their most alert, in case of potential problems like safeguarding. Because they don’t know you, they have to assume that the worst is possible. That would be why they took the photos: they have to cover themselves two ways - “we didn’t do it” and to prove that they had to report it as a safeguarding concern. There are unexplained bruises on this lady’s arms. And as your wife was perhaps struggling to explain them, it set off alarms. The rules are that they have to report it for others to do the investigation.

If they have not realised that your wife was in hospital and had some serious bruising, which will have taken some time to fade, then you are the only remaining suspect. That’s why you got the reception you did.

Okay…explanation over. Basically what you went through is standard practice, although my experience when I worked with carers was that social workers were generally a little more careful to get the facts first, without rushing to judgement - although not always.

Is your wife on Warfarin or some other blood thinning agent? The description you gave of the bruises certainly suggests it. If so, she would bruise easily and deeply, and they should have found more recent bruising if you’d been abusive in any way. It also means that the level of bruising should have been recorded by the hospital, really, in case of accusations against them.

I can understand that you’re upset - I would be too - but unfortunately, the systems they follow are designed to catch abusers and don’t always consider that there are other ways to get bruises. I got questioned once about my Mum’s facial bruises: she’d fallen on her face - literally - in town. Fortunately the hospital records backed us up.

You can make a complaint, of course. I think they will accept that you were upset by the way you were questioned, but they’ll likely only apologise that you felt you were being accused of something you hadn’t done. It’s a non-apology because they have to investigate everything. They might learn a lesson from a complaint about the way they go about it, but I’m not convinced. What I would do instead is send details of any blood thinning meds and the fact that at present your wife has no fresh bruises, which means she’s getting appropriate care. That will help them to ask the right questions next time!

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Surely the bruises should have been noted by the hospital on discharge.!

They were on the discharge notes. All part of the hospital records.

Hi Redridge , every time I go into hospital I come out covered in bruising from the insertion of drips , needles etc .They always need several attempts to get it right , hence I am black and blue .The chances of them making a note in my medical records that they have “blown” a vein whilst trying to insert a cannula or needle must be very low .They generally gloss over it and they never apologise .
I would be steaming mad too .I wouldn’t bother complaining as I don’t think you will get any satisfactory result .I wouldn’t use those carers or that agency again .
good luck
Blue.

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Possibly on the hospitals own records but nothing noted on the discharge letter given to us.

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