Monday, October 12, 2009

UK National Health Service - "If they are guilty of anything, then it is of having the best clinical interests of their patients at heart."

Torron Eeles: Plumber left needing operation 10 months after breaking arm
Torron Eeles who broke his upper arm bone in December is still waiting for an operation to correct it more than ten months later. Photo: MASONS

Torron Eeles, 50, fractured the humerus bone in his upper left arm after falling down the stairs at home in December 2008 and has been incapacitated ever since.

His arm, twisted out of shape, hangs limply by his side, meaning he cannot work for a living and now faces the prospect of losing his home.

Mr Eeles, from Welham Green, Herts., said he had applied for employment and support allowance but was denied both.

"This whole situation is absolutely disgusting. I have never heard of anyone else having a broken arm for 10 months," the father-of-three said.

''It's been so long the bones have knitted back together. Sleeping is really uncomfortable because whenever I roll over my arm gets in the way.

''I'm a kitchen fitter and plumber by trade but I can't even slice a load of bread let alone work.

''This has been going on and on and it's a complete nightmare.''

Mr Eeles fractured his arm on December 3 and rushed straight to casualty where doctors put his arm in plaster.

But within a few weeks a specialist said the bones were too far apart and there was too much movement in the arm – meaning surgeons would have to insert a metal plate.

He claims his first two operations at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Welwyn Garden City, Herts., were cancelled due to a lack of beds and operating time respectively.

His third operation in February was postponed after he was found to have high blood pressure, while the fourth, scheduled for May, was abandoned because of concerns about his smoking.

He removed the plaster after around three months and was given a wrist sling, which he branded ''totally useless''.

"How the job centre can say I'm fit I don't know. I was on incapacity benefit until a few weeks ago when I went to be assessed by a doctor in Luton", he said.

"He said because I can turn on a tap and I can lift my arm I don't qualify for help.

"Now I'm worried about losing my house. I've got a mortgage on it and there are credit cards debts I'm struggling to pay because I can't work."

Nick Carver, the chief executive of the East and North Herts NHS Trust, said computer records showed the trust had only cancelled two operations.

"Mr Eeles' operation was cancelled only twice – and then both on clinical safety grounds", he said.

"The first time was back in February when his blood pressure was found to be high. As his surgery was not an emergency, our surgeons took the right action in referring Mr Eeles to his GP so his blood pressure could be brought under control.

"His second operation in May 2009 was also cancelled, this time because he had failed to act on our surgeon's advice that Mr Eeles that he should give up smoking.

"In cancelling Mr Eeles' two operation dates, our surgeons were acting on clinical grounds only.

"If they are guilty of anything, then it is of having the best clinical interests of their patients at heart."


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