Husband seeks review of inquiry on wife’s case

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A GRIEVING husband is seeking a judicial review of the Health Ombudsman’s decision not to take action over the way his wife was treated before she died of cancer.

Mike Thurman disputes many of West Suffolk Hospital’s responses to the ombudsman on what he says happened before Angela died of liver cancer, aged 67, in September.

While the report states that there was maladministration for two appointment mix-ups and contains 14 apologies from the trust, Mr Thurman from Cockfield, is criticial of delays, poor communication and his wife being left overnight without painkillers.

While the ombudsman’s report says ‘care could have been better’ it concludes: “In our view the trust has provided a reasonable response to your concerns about this and provided appropriate apologies.”

It says no more action will be taken.

But Mr Thurman, 70, said. “They say they’ve got it on record [at the hospital] that this was done and that was done but I was there and my daughter was there and we witnessed it. Everything they say, they’ve contradicted us.”

The couple had lived in Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands, for eight years when, in February 2011, Mrs Thurman had stomach pains. She had tests there but the couple felt she would get better treatment in the UK. They were able to give West Suffolk all the Fuerteventura hospital records except a biopsy report.

Mr Thurman says it took three months to get that because of a dispute over who would pay for faxing the 25-page report, though the ombudsman says there is no evidence of that. Mr Thurman eventually had it emailed.

Ten days before she died, Mrs Thurman needed a drip to reduce calcium in her blood, normally a 15 minute job at the hospice, but they were sent to the hospital’s emergency admissions unit where there were delays because the unit was dealing with a serious accident.

The next morning, the family say they found Mrs Thurman in another ward, very distressed saying she had not had her painkillers, which the ward said had been misplaced. The ombudsman’s report agrees their daughter had found them at the EAU, though it accepts the hospital’s claim she was checked every two hours.

A spokesman for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are sorry that Mr Thurman was unhappy with the care his wife received.

“We take all complaints very seriously and have carried out a full and thorough investigation into Mr Thurman’s concerns, which included sharing his observations with all of the staff involved with his wife’s care.

“We want everybody who uses West Suffolk Hospital to have a positive experience of the care we offer. As such, we encourage feedback from patients, families and carers as it helps us build on good practice already in place as well as highlighting areas where we could improve further.”