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East Surrey Hospital censured over claimed negligence

14/12/11: Pamela Goddard had breast cancer for 4 decades but died from a blood infection resulting from the bedsores she had developed whilst in hospital.

Her family argue that the care she received was inadequate and that the hospital allowed her to die as they withdrew her oncology treatment – without getting consent from the family.

Adrian Goddard said that his mother was a lively and much loved woman; he went on to say how difficult it has been for the family to accept how she died.

We still feel a huge loss and this has been compounded by our outrage. We have made a commitment to each other that will do whatever is necessary to obtain recourse. We have been attempting to negotiate a letter of acknowledgement and apology from the East Surrey hospital but the whole process is one of defer and delay and is designed to make people give up. Mr. Goddard went on to say that his whole family are furious, not only about the treatment that was withheld from his mother but also that, 3 years later they are still waiting for an apology. My mother’s protocol was changed whilst nobody was there; the hospital forms show that no consent was obtained.

The hospital decided that they would cease Mrs. Goddard’s cancer treatment whilst continuing to provide pain relief. Several family members lived within a few miles of the hospital and several telephone numbers had been provided to them.

Mrs. Goddard was conscious, alert and able to communicate, although she was in considerable pain, she would never have accepted an end of life protocol.

A civil claim hearing is planned and will consider a settlement and apology.

A trust spokesperson has commented that the hospital accepts that Mrs. Goddard’s treatment was not of a satisfactory standard, the current chief executive has apologised to the family. He went on to say that a claim for clinical negligence has been received from the family and the matter has been passed to their litigation authority. Any claim is regrettable and we are working to make sure that the quality of our care continues to improve. Staff training improvements regarding palliative care have already been introduced.