West Suffolk Hospital sorry for cancer patient's 'unsatisfactory' care

A Suffolk hospital has apologised for the way it treated a patient with terminal bowel cancer.

Howard Layman, 67, from Haverhill, was being treated at West Suffolk Hospital when his wife Grace became worried that he was not waking up.

She said nurses ignored her concerns before a doctor assessed Mr Layman and said he was going to die.

Doctors revived Mr Layman but the hospital apologised for a "regrettable and unsatisfactory level of care".

Mrs Layman said: "Had I not visited that day, he wouldn't be here today.

"He would have died in the corner, and they wouldn't have even realised."

'Deeply asleep'

Nicole Day, executive chief nurse, apologised on behalf of West Suffolk Hospital and said an investigation was taking place.

Mr Layman was taken to West Suffolk Hospital in June after becoming disorientated.

Mrs Layman said that when she visited her husband she could not wake him up and that his legs were "icy cold".

She said: "I called the nurse - I'd asked her to feel his legs, and she just went out and got me a blanket. She wouldn't even feel his legs.

"I said there's something wrong and he won't wake up. She went straight into his face and said: 'Mr Layman, Mr Layman wake up.'

"The only response was his eyes flickered underneath his lids - she said: 'He's deeply asleep' and left."

'No concern'

Mrs Layman called a second nurse, who also said her husband was asleep. Mrs Layman said nobody checked her husband's pulse or blood pressure.

A third nurse was called as Mrs Layman became more concerned. A doctor was then called for.

"The consultant came in with two doctors who told me his body was closing down and to get my family to the hospital because he kept stopping breathing," said Mrs Layman.

"He was pulled back and I'm very grateful. But there was no concern from the nursing staff."

Ms Day said: "We'll need to look at the specific issues of the complaint.

"If training is to be done, or if we need to refocus how we manage patient care, that is what we will do."

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