A health care assistant whose brother died on the ward where she works wants answers after his operation was cancelled eight times. 

Dominique Macey went to A&E at the Royal Sussex County in Brighton with a prolapsed rectum but ended up spending nearly seven weeks in hospital.

During that time he developed sepsis and a deep vein thrombosis and was diagnosed with cancer. After 47 days he died on the ward where his sister Karen works.

Now Karen said she is seeking answers after claiming that doctors failed to treat her brother properly.

The trust behind the hospital said it is investigating his treatment.

The Argus: Dominque MaceyDominque Macey (Image: Karen Macey)


Speaking to The Argus, Karen, 59, from Whitehawk, said: “Dom was greatly loved by everyone. He was just a big child, he was kind and funny and he loved reading and music.

“It was a really weird feeling being on the ward. He was in a deep, deep sleep, it was quite upsetting knowing he was slipping away.

“If they had just done the surgery then he might not have died. He went in with piles and came out dead."

Dom, 58, was admitted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital on July 8 and was diagnosed with a prolapsed rectum.

Karen said he was told he would need an operation but it was cancelled eight times in the space of ten days for a variety of reasons. She said these included him being given food when he was supposed to be "nil by mouth" before surgery. 


Karen said Dom, who was registered blind and also had a separate acquired brain injury after he was attacked in 1989, was later told he did not need an operation. Following this he was moved between wards, including the intensive care unit after he developed sepsis.

After being moved wards a number of times, he eventually ended up on the ward where Karen works.

Dom later developed a deep vein thrombosis and following tests was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma. He died on August 24.

The Argus: Dominique Macey, left, four days before he diedDominique Macey, left, four days before he died (Image: Karen Macey)

‘The whole medical profession has let him down’

Karen said she believes there were missed opportunities during her brother’s treatment.

She said that at the beginning of his time in hospital she would spend her lunch breaks looking after him. She later used annual leave to spend time with him before then taking sick leave.

 Karen claims staff did not realise Dom was blind until the second day of his stay.

She also alleges she told doctors about sepsis symptoms such as slurred speech which she spotted two days before it was caught and treated.

Other failings alleged by Karen include missed opportunities to provide Dom with additional support due to his acquired brain injury.

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She also claims she was not told Dom would be treated on the ward she worked on prior to the move.

Karen said: "It’s so toxic, it shouldn’t happen to someone like Dom.

“You are supposed to go to hospital to get better. He would still be here if the care had been carried out quickly, even with lymphoma.

“The whole medical profession has let him down.”

The Argus: Dominique and Karen MaceyDominique and Karen Macey (Image: Karen Macey)

'My brother slipped through the cracks’

Dom’s care is currently being investigated by the NHS Patient and Liaison Service which is due to provide its findings in November.

Karen told The Argus she feels her brother “slipped through the cracks” and missed out on additional support for his acquired brain injury.

She said she wants the hospital to "learn lessons" from his care and to provide clarity on where patients with acquired brain injuries are able to access support.

Professor Catherine Urch, chief medical officer, University Hospitals Sussex said: "We offer our deepest condolences to Dominique’s family for their loss.

The Argus: Professor Catherine UrchProfessor Catherine Urch (Image: University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust)

“As the family are aware, we are investigating a series of complaints about his care at hospital. We are looking into each complaint and we are clear that we absolutely must do this effectively and thoroughly to give the family the detailed answers they need and deserve.

“We recognise that this is a difficult time for them and so we are in close contact with the family to keep them updated about how the investigations are progressing."

The trust said it aims to respond to patient complaints within 60 working days.