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My partner died alone after Royal Free Hospital blunder

PUBLISHED: 16:14 29 October 2010 | UPDATED: 16:37 29 October 2010

Veronica Vale who died in RFH with Partner Bob Winsor

Veronica Vale who died in RFH with Partner Bob Winsor

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A WEST Hampstead man has accused the Royal Free Hospital of gross medical negligence after his partner of 20 years died unexpectedly while in its care.

Bob Winsor’s girlfriend Veronica Vale, who was suffering from oesophageal cancer, was admitted to the Hampstead hospital on the evening of March 31 with a haemorrhage.

She was given a blood transfusion but doctors decided not to undertake an endoscopy to find out the source of the blood loss until the next morning because, a nurse told Mr Winsor, they were “too tired”.

He says he was told Ms Vale would be fine and so he went home. Sadly she did not survive until the morning and died from a cardiac arrest in the early hours.

Mr Winsor, who lives in Sheriff Road, has spent the last six months trying to get answers about what happened from hospital bosses, who now claim to have lost Ms Vale’s notes.

He said: “I think the Royal Free could have saved my girlfriend. They could have stopped her death by finding out where she was haemorrhaging from. I feel totally let down.

“I am really angry about it. I am more angry that I cannot get any answers out of them now and they are claiming that all her notes have been lost.

“I have also been trying to find out what her last words were. I had been by her side throughout her treatment and at the time she needed me most, I was not there.

“I arrived when she was already in cardiac arrest and I was not allowed to see her until after she had died.”

Mr Winsor has since phoned other hospitals and consulted nurses to find out the correct procedure – they have all told him an endoscopy should have been done immediately.

“She would have survived longer, maybe another six months, if this had not happened,” he said. “At the time she was told she would only be in for two days and she was disappointed because she wanted to go and buy Easter eggs but she never got the chance.

“There has been serious maladministration and I am considering now going to the Ombudsman and the General Medical Council.”

A spokeswoman for the Royal Free said it cannot comment on Ms Vale’s medical care because part of her medical record has been mislaid.

“We are doing all we can to locate it,” she said. “A complaint by Mr Winsor regarding her care has not been handled well.

“It was not logged for some time after being received and subsequently not handled according to our complaints procedure.

“The trust’s medical director and director of nursing will respond directly to Mr Winsor over the issues he has raised as a matter of urgency.

“We are very sorry that we have undoubtedly added to Mr Winsor’s distress during this sad time.”


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