"Unsatisfied with the NHS at Queens Romford and the resulting death of my wife"

About: Queen's Hospital / Upper gastrointestinal sugery

(as a relative),

In December 2007 my wife was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus. She underwent 2 courses of chemo and on March 3rd had a major 9 hour op where a large part of her tube was removed with the tumour and what was left moved up and re-stitched, her stomach was stitched much smaller and she would never have been able to eat a proper meal again. The surgeon explained that there was a 96% success rate, which we were very reassured by. She was recovering well in intensive care unit and 2 days after op she was moved to a general ward. At the time we thought it was very quick due to the nature of the op being the most major op undertaken at Queens. The next morning my wife rang me at home approx 8 am crying and asking for my help because she had been coughing severely all night and called out for help and nobody came after many calls. I immediately went to the hospital and by then she was surrounded by medical staff including the surgeon. He took me to one side and explained that an explosion had occurred around the operated area and he suspected that the stitches had been blown apart and the plan was to operate again. After the talk with the surgeon, I asked the Nursing staff why this should have happened and was told that there was not enough staff working the night, only 2 to 30 patients. The reason they said was that nurses quit due to the unrelenting pressure they are under. Ongoing from that my wife was subjected to 2 further big ops but sadly lost her fight for life on the 23rd of March.

After this, I had meetings with the surgeon and other staff and put forward my opinion the facilities are insufficient. My main concern was the IT and HDU dept, which did not have enough beds for such a large catchment area. In my opinion had she stayed longer in the IT unit after the op I am convinced she would have survived. There was a separate room standing empty ready for the HDU unit but no nurses to run it! This would have meant over double the capacity available. Our family strongly believe that our much loved wife/mother/ (young) grandmother’s death is the responsibility of the NHS Trust and the Government. For 3 weeks, she suffered intolerable pain, not able to eat or drink and a huge vertical rip down her tube seeping stomach acid into her body. The only positive comment is for the surgeon and the nursing staff who all tried there best to save her.

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