A horrifying story


Semper Vita highlights this story.

Mr Jones, a retired bricklayer with two daughters, was diagnosed with stomach cancer in May 2005. After undergoing chemotherapy, he had his stomach removed by surgeons at Royal Liverpool Hospital that September.

He was told he was in remission from cancer, but the grandfather of two continued to suffer pain following the operation as well as difficulties in eating, and on January 3, 2006, he went to the city’s Marie Curie hospice for respite care.

While there, however, his family were told the cancer had returned by Dr Alison Coackley, a palliative medicine consultant who played a key role in drawing up the Liverpool Care Pathway.

Despite the fact that no tests were carried out to confirm the diagnosis, his family say doctors instructed nurses to stop giving him food and fluids.

The only medication he was permitted were painkillers, and he slipped into semi- consciousness without the chest infection being diagnosed and died on January 14.

But a post-mortem examination found he was free of cancer and had in fact died of pneumonia.

Reports commissioned by Mrs Jones’s solicitor concluded that with antibiotics and a rehydrating drip he could have made a full recovery and survived for at least another two years.

So instead of finding out what was wrong and treating it, they assumed it was terminal cancer and starved him to death.

The hospice and the doctors who treated Mr Jones continue to deny liability, but his widow has now accepted an £18,000 out-of-court settlement after being told she would otherwise lose her legal aid.

Yesterday she said: ‘If they’d only treated his chest infection, my husband could well still be alive today.

‘We fought in the hospice to get Jack the right treatment and they blocked us, making us feel we were a nuisance.

‘I was worried it was pneumonia, I wanted them to check his chest, but they wouldn’t.’

So it wasn’t like no one had thought of other possibilities.

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