Man whose tumour op postponed five times

Melvyn Bright had a fifth operation to remove a tumour from his neck cancelled.
Melvyn Bright had a fifth operation to remove a tumour from his neck cancelled.
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A patient has been left living in fear that a tumour in his neck is cancerous after the fifth operation to remove it was cancelled.

Melvyn Bright was sent home from Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital last week - after preparations were already under way for his surgery – because of a shortage of aftercare beds.

He is now vowing to write to the trust in charge of the hospital and local MP John Hayes to complain about the “second rate” care he has received.

Mr Bright (62), of Surfleet, said: “There is no other way to describe it but second rate. I am self employed and have had to take time off work for each of this operations and I still don’t know for sure that it isn’t cancerous.

“They drew fluid from it, which suggested it was benign, but they did say that is just fluid from one area and other areas of it could be malignant.

“I am living under a shadow until this is sorted out.”

As well as the large lump on the left side of Mr Bright’s neck, he also has small lumps on the other side. When the large one is removed it will be sent away for analysis to see if it is benign or malignant, before doctors turn their attention to the smaller ones.

Mr Bright said two of the previous operations were cancelled because of a medical emergencies, which he says is understandable, he turned down one date because it was not inconvenient and a fourth was cancelled because he did not realise a ‘no food’ rule before his op included milk in his cup of tea – but he says to have a fifth operation cancelled at the 11th hour because of a lack of beds is unforgiveable.

He said: “I had to be there for 7.30am and they sent my family home, got me changed into a gown and drew on my neck where they were going to cut the tumour out, but then they decided they did not have any available beds for me after the operation.

“They had said it was guaranteed my operation would go ahead this time, but instead I found myself stranded at Pilgrim with not much money and no mobile phone to call my daughter to come and get me.

“She has had to book time off work to look after my wife, who is registered disabled, and to look after me after the operation. I am self employed as a taxi driver just doing airport runs. They are obviously booked in advance and I have had to tell people I’m not available for at least two weeks while I have my operation and recover, so now I’m sitting at home, not able to work and bring money in and I am going to have to do it all again when I get another date.

“It’s just not good enough.”

And Mr Bright says it is not just the operations where he has been given the run-around, as a pre-op appointment – where tests are done to ensure a patient’s fitness for surgery – was cancelled and he was offered another date which would have been after he had the surgery.

Mr Bright’s daughter Nicola said: “They can’t keep messing people about. I have two jobs and I have to book time off to look after Dad after his operation, and then it’s cancelled again. And we are still not 100 per sure the lump in his neck isn’t cancerous.”

A statement from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We would like to apologise to Mr Bright for the cancellations which occurred on behalf of the local hospital, which were made due to severe emergency pressures and the prioritisation of clinically urgent cases.
“We are reviewing our administration processes to ensure that repeat cancellations do not occur unnecessarily.”