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NHS

This is the second in a series of extracts from witness statements submitted to the Francis Inquiry by relations of those treated by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. We reproduce these extracts as the Labour Party launches new claims that only they can be trusted with the NHS. This witness’s full statement can be read here – he was the brother-in-law of a Mid Staffs patient, whose name is redacted.

‘[The patient] was initially diagnosed with cancer…in October 2001. His treatment seemed to go very well and initially was dealt with promptly – it was really when the follow ups began that things went terribly wrong. Throughout the period during which [he] attended consultations at the Trust he had consistently complained of increasing difficulty in swallowing, severe pain and continuing weight loss. However, despite his physical appearance and, given his medical history, the recurrence of his cancer was not identified promptly and it wad not until just four days before his death when we were told by a nurse that a scan had shown a tumour… My wife attended one such follow up and was extremely upset by it – she had spoken to the doctor and she had said that [the patient] “was like a walking skeleton”. Towards the end of the consultation she had asked the doctor why he had not required that [the patient’s] weight be checked. My wife’s comments were ignored and it was at this point it began to hit home that the Trust was not being diligent in its duties.’

‘…He was not paid any attention to at the hospital, you could clearly see he was very weak and in so much pain. Until you experience such pain you don’t know what it feels like, but you could see it in his face. He had consistently complained of pain and weight loss at each of his follow up appointments.’

‘In April 2004…he underwent an endoscopy and we were told that the results were normal. Yet [he] was still in considerable pain.’

‘In desperation, Irene took him to a Dental Surgeon at the Central Outpatient Department of University Hospital of North Staffs as a private patient – she…demanded to know “how he could send her husband home when it was apparent to anyone that he was unable to swallow and starving to death”. The Consultant immediately called his nurse and referred [the patient] to the MacMillan Nurses. On 9 October 2004 a nurse visited [him] at his home and commented “how have you come this far on your own”. She then immediately called the Emergency Services and [he] was admitted to the Emergency Assessment Unit at the Trust.’

‘[His] condition became worse and he was eventually diagnosed with advanced cancer of the throat. At this point [he] had suffered a heart attack, been resuscitated and suffered brain damage. I don’t know what happened, but he was given days to live at most and never regained consciousness. [He] spent eight days in hospital before he died. During that time there was no communication from the doctors or the consultants with Irene. We have no complaints about the nursing staff, they couldn’t really say anything.’

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