THE family of a bedbound pensioner claim hospital staff could have killed him with a series of blunders in his treatment.

Derek Todd, 78, from Coundon, County Durham, has a swallowing condition which means he needs mashed-up solid food and the liquids he drinks need thickening to prevent the fluid from flooding his lungs.

But his daughter and main carer Kathryn Todd said when she visited him in Darlington Memorial Hospital at the beginning of the month she found him drinking a cup of tea – which she says could have easily killed him.

And she claims he was laying in his bed soaked in urine during another visit.

He now needs to be back in hospital after relapsing with dehydration but his family say they are too fearful to allow him to go back and are trying to treat him at home.

Ms Todd said: “He has problems swallowing and there was a sign on the wall above his bed saying he needed his drinks thickening. He can choke on it or it can flood his lungs.

“His food also needs to be blended and his pills crushed. But not only did they give him a cup of tea to drink but they also gave him whole pills to swallow. He could have easily choked. I found him laid in his own urine, he was soaking wet.

“When I told them about the tea one of the staff tried to say he had got the cup of tea himself which he can’t do because his arms are disabled and he has been bedbound for two years.”

The family were also left fearful when they say they were all called in on the day he was due to be released.

Ms Todd said her sister had phoned the hospital and was told the family were being called in, leaving them fearing the worst.

They all travelled to the hospital only to be told he was being released.

Now Ms Todd said: “He isn’t well at all. We have got him at home on a drip. We didn’t want him back in the hospital at all.”

A spokeswoman for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very sorry that Mr Todd’s family are unhappy with aspects of his care.

“We would like to discuss their concerns with them." so they can be fully investigated.

“We would encourage Mr Todd’s family to make contact with our patient experience team on 0800 783 5774 or email”