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Sussex grandmother’s cancer ignored for six months
A grandmother died from colon cancer after being repeatedly told by doctors she was just constipated.
The health service has been accused of failing widow Maddy Pratt-Hooson, 66, who visited GPs at Quayside Medical Practice in Newhaven twice a week for six months complaining of severe abdominal pains.
But each time she was told not to worry and was sent back home to her bungalow in Norton Terrace in the town, where she lived alone.
Mrs Pratt-Hooson, a mother-of-three, was eventually rushed to Royal Sussex County Hospital in the middle of the night after calling her daughter Laura Hooson in agony.
A large tumour was found and she was diagnosed with colon cancer.
Less than four weeks later, she died at the Martlets Hospice.
Laura, 25, said: “She was failed by the NHS in every aspect – by the doctors, hospital, everyone.
“She saw various doctors at her local surgery for six months but no-one properly examined her.
“She even saw out of hours doctors at the hospital, but they all kept telling her she had constipation.
“Mum wasn’t the type of person to complain. It was strange that none of her doctors seemed to notice anything, especially because my nan had colon cancer too.
Getting her down
“She thought that she had gone crazy and the pain was just in her head.
“It got her really down and depressed. One night she rang me in the middle of the night, crying her eyes out, and we got an ambulance to her and she ended up in hospital.
“That was on October 1, but it wasn’t until October 11 that she was diagnosed with colon cancer.
“By then we were told that nothing could be done for her apart from keeping her comfortable. She was devastated.
“She came home for a couple of weeks but her final days were spent in a hospice, as she went downhill fast and she passed away on November 5.
“She suffered unnecessary pain and distress for the last seven months of her life due to NHS negligence and I think the public should be informed.”
Mum-of-one Laura, from Brighton, said she had tried to sue the NHS on her mother’s behalf, but was told she was not allowed because she was over 18.
She is now consulting solicitors to see what other options she has.
She said she has complained to East Sussex Downs and Weald Primary Care Trust, which runs the doctors’ surgery.
A spokeswoman from the trust said: “We sympathise with Mrs Pratt-Hooson’s family for their loss.
“No family members have raised any concerns about her care or treatment with the GP practice, the hospital trust or NHS Sussex.
“Concerns and complaints are always taken seriously and there is a robust process to ensure they are investigated fully.”
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