I got a letter from the hospital where my husband was treated - or not treated. I learned shortly after he died that major mistakes had been made in his medical care. He should have been offered treatment for the brain cancer that killed him - although that treatment probably wouldn’t have saved his life, it might have given him another year or more and it would certainly have made him more comfortable both physically and mentally.
He was very distressed when he was told that nothing could be done. It was all so surreal - six weeks before he was told that we’d been planning a new life in a new house and developing two companies together that we hoped we could run for the rest of our lives. We had purpose and direction - neither of us wanted to retire although I was 66 and he was 71. We certainly didn’t want to spend our lives fiddling around with the house and doddering about as some people do.
The letter was profusely apologetic. It accepted that mistakes had been made and that for example I should have been able to stay with my husband in hospital because he was diagnosed as terminally ill 6 days after he was admitted.
It was written by a senior matron who had obviously had difficulty dealing with the medical staff. It apologised because the medical staff had as yet failed to answer the medical questions I’d asked, which I had been helped with by a medical charity.
I sent the letter in October - this reply had taken 7 months. I didn’t know this at the time, but my husband had a friend who is an oncologist, who has been asking questions too. So I guess that the medical staff have for some reason decided not to say anything.
Medical care on the ward my husband stayed in for most of his time in hospital has been criticised by the Care Quality Commission for failing to meet targets. I don’t know what these ‘targets’ are.
So I feel that I am on a merry-go-round. When my husband was on the ward, the nursing staff were terrific. They did everything they could to help him and facilitate his discharge. I know that theoretically medical staff and nursing staff should work together for the same objective - which is to treat the patient with dignity and respect and do everything they can to fulfil the patient’s wishes.
This didn’t happen to my husband. The attitude of the medical staff was distant and nonchalant - as if they were telling him that because his disease was rare it was almost his fault that they didn’t know what it was or how to treat it. He had numerous scans and tests which were not acted on promptly.
I just feel battered and bruised and very, very angry. I would like to know that this will not happen to anyone else. But as yet I do not.