Family’s horror at anniversary invite

Katy Phillips
Katy Phillips

The mother of a young hospital nurse, who died after collapsing at work, was invited to the building’s first birthday party - held on the very anniversary of her daughter’s death there.

Heartbroken Teresa Phillips is still trying to come to terms with losing her daughter Katy Phillips, 28, last April.

Eamon Phillips

Eamon Phillips

But she could not believe the ‘insensitivity’ of hospital bosses after the shock email invitation – with balloons on it – was sent out to staff.

Teresa, 59 and her husband Eamon, 61, of Leyland Lane, Leyland, are outraged over the incident.

Trust bosses have apologised.

Katy was a staff nurse at The Harbour mental health care facility in Blackpool.

It was going to be an unbelievably difficult time for the anniversary of our child’s death

On April 13, 2015, she was found in a toilet at the hospital. Katy, who had a history of epilepsy, had suffered an epileptic seizure and died.

Her family said she had been on the floor for hours before someone found her.

The Harbour is run by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, for whom Mrs Phillips works as a community psychiatric nurse.

Mrs Phillips is too upset to talk about her daughter’s death.

But Northern Ireland-born Mr Phillips, a retired nurse, described the sending out of the invitation to his wife as “unbelievable”.

He said: “My wife opened the email inviting her to the birthday party, with balloons attached.

“It was just horrific.

“She was in an office on her own when she opened that.

“When she told me I was devastated – and I was at home with the family.

“The insensitivity is staggering. There was no respect, no care or consideration.

“If staff had known about this email they would have said... ‘wait a minute’.

“This is an unbelievably difficult time. It was going to be an unbelievably difficult time for the anniversary of our child’s death, but under the circumstances it’s dreadful.”

Mr Phillips explained: “Katy was found in a toilet at The Harbour hospital where she had lain undiscovered for four hours. It was when the night staff came on duty and she wasn’t there and they did a full search.

“Staff present tried to resuscitate her and sent for an ambulance. Paramedics and a doctor on site came.”

He said staff and patients at the Harbour who knew Katy wanted to hold a memorial service last September, but it never came off. It is hoped a service for Katy can be arranged in the near future.

Members of the Phillips family have formally complained to the Trust bosses about the email.

And Mr Phillips is making a formal complaint about health and safety procedures at the hospital following their daughter’s death.

Katy had worked at The Harbour since February 2015.

Meanwhile Mr and Mrs Phillips and their family –the couple have three other daughters, Laura, Emma and Claire – attended a memorial service for Katy at Leyland St Mary’s Church on Wednesday.

Dee Roach, executive director of nursing at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are deeply sorry that the event was planned for this day, it was not intentional and I understand the impact that this has had on Katy’s family and friends.

“Myself and senior colleagues are in contact with the family and have offered an explanation, our sincere apologies and my personal support at this difficult time.”