Woman's shock as partner dies alone weeks after cancer misdiagnosis at Bedford Hospital

And … she still can’t even afford a funeral for him either
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A woman has been left heartbroken after her partner’s death following a cancer misdiagnosis.

Don Wood, 70, died at Bedford Hospital on June 21, after repeatedly being treated – sent home – treated again – and sent home.

And to add insult to injury, his partner of 38 years Sally Wilson still can’t afford a funeral for him – SEVEN WEEKS LATER.

Don WoodDon Wood
Don Wood

Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust has urged the family to get in touch and said their concerns will be looked into as ‘a matter of priority’.

Don was first admitted to hospital in February with a water infection but after a few days was sent home.

However, seven hours later, he was rushed back due to breathing difficulties.

He was treated and then sent home after a week – but again after two hours an ambulance was called after he lost consciousness.

The family were told the wait was two and half hours, so he was driven to hospital in a taxi.

“The doctor in A&E put in a complaint....'as he should NOT have been sent home',” claimed Sally.

Don was then re-admitted for a further two weeks – and it was only during this time the family were informed he had cancer, a mass on his kidneys, sepsis, a clot on his lung and fluid around his heart.

“It was such a shock,” said Sally. “He was always so fit and healthy.”

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It took four weeks before a biopsy of the cancer was taken but there was no follow-up treatment or appointment to address Don's heart or lung condition.

On June 6, it was confirmed Don had cancer of the kidney, a low-grade lymphoma, and a tumour on the lung.

Sally, 57, explained: “A week later he was again re-admitted to hospital but cancer treatment was not started 'as it was low grade'. However, after further tests, the hospital said they’d 'made a mistake' and diagnosed a high-grade cancer.

“But when they took him for surgery they realised both kidneys were blocked and surgery couldn't go ahead as his heart was only working at 17%.

“Then on June 21, the following day, we visited Don, but later that same evening we were told that he had passed. The family had no warning so he died alone. It was devastating.

“We knew something was wrong but it was all such a shock. He was always out of breath and in so much pain. He couldn’t even lie down and walking was difficult.

“He nearly died twice. But nobody kept us informed about what was going on. There was no contact, even at the end. They let him die alone.”

And to heap further misery on to the family, Sally is still not able to hold a funeral because she cannot afford the £4,000 cost.

Sally and Don were receiving pension credit at their Nicholls Road home in Bedford but payments were stopped after Don died.

Sally – who no other income and had no insurance to fall back on – was advised to claim benefits as a single person, but will not receive any money until the end of month and then will only be paid £212 for three months.

She said: "It's just devastating. Don’s body has been lying in the mortuary since June 21 but I just can't afford the £4,000 cost of a funeral to lay him to rest. And funeral directors no longer offer payment plans so I just don't know what to do."

Sally says the pain and anguish have just added to the family's despair, shock and anger over Don's death.

Don and Sally had one son and two grandchildren.

Sally's daughter-in-law, Katy Gifford, added: "It breaks our hearts to see how low she is. This is so wrong in every way, she can't have him cremated and home where he belongs."

Cathy Jones, deputy chief executive for Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “In order to protect confidentiality at all times, we do not comment on individual patient cases – however, I am incredibly sad to hear this patient’s story and would like to send our deepest condolences to the family at this incredibly difficult time.

“As we have not yet been contacted by the family about their concerns, I would urge them to get in contact directly with our Patient Advice Liaison Service on 01234 795814 or email [email protected] who will listen to the concerns and ensure these are looked into as a matter of priority.”