Cornwall

Cornwall hospital sorry for patient advice

Royal Cornwall Hospital
Image caption Iris Brown was brought in unconscious to the Royal Cornwall Hospital

A Cornwall hospital has apologised after a husband claimed he was told his sick wife had "no quality of life".

Iris Brown, 61, was brought in unconscious to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro in April and has since recovered.

Her husband Brian said he was told by a registrar at the time it would be "kinder" to "just let her go".

Hospital chief executive Peter Colclough said the registrar was "sorry if that is how it came across".

Mrs Brown, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, developed severe breathing problems on 24 April and lost consciousness.

'Difficult decisions'

Mrs Brown, from Redruth, recovered consciousness the same day and less than a week later was allowed home.

Mr Brown said he was told earlier by a registrar: "Mr Brown, your wife has no quality of life.

"It would be kinder, for you and your wife, if we were to just let her go now while she's comfortable and relatively pain-free."

A few months later Mr Brown, who cares for his wife at home, made a formal complaint.

Mr Colclough said in a letter to Mr Brown in August that the registrar "has advised that he would never make a judgement about a patient's quality of life and is sorry if that is how it came across".

"It is his job however to make difficult decisions about severely sick patients," Mr Colclough said.

Mr Brown said he had been pleased with his wife's treatment but that he did not believe the hospital staff had always followed the correct procedures.

She said: "I'm not old. I mean I can get about a bit, can't I?

"When Brian told me what had happened I didn't believe him."

The hospital has declined to comment further.

Correction 4 October 2010: This story has been amended to clarify that Mr Brown said he did not believe the hospital staff had always followed the correct procedures.

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