Shefford man with mystery wound runs out of time

Keith Thompson at his home in Shefford

Keith Thompson at his home in Shefford - Credit: Archant

A MAN who suffered a mystery wound after being treated in hospital has been told it is too late to make a complaint.

Keith Thompson, 68, from Shefford was admitted to the accident and emergency department at Bedford hospital in March 2010 after suffering an epileptic fit.

He was kept in overnight for monitoring but the next day his wife Pam was told that he was being operated on for a 10cm laceration to his lower back.”

She said: “I was told it could be life-threatening but no one seemed to know what had happened. It wasn’t until two days later that we were told the wound must have been caused by something sharp going into his back.

“After fits Keith often is not aware of anything and is very sleepy”

Mr Thomson, who is hard of hearing, confirmed he has no idea what happened to him and said it was a “total blank.”

The hospital said that immediately following the incident a thorough investigation was carried out to establish the possible cause of the injury, including involving the police but this had proved inconclusive.

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The couple said they were urged by the health complaints advocacy service (POhWER) to take further action and took legal advice.

Pam said: “It took so long to get information and replies to letters, even the legal aid application took six months.”

After complaining to the health ombudsman they were told that they had passed the deadline for a complaint and were turned down for compensation.

A Bedford Hospital spokesperson said: “We appreciate the pain that Mr Thompson sustained as a result of his injury and we are sorry for any distress that this has caused.

“Following attempts to resolve the issue at a local level, subsequent involvement from both the NHS Litigation Authority and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has not led to any criticism of the Trust’s approach to this unfortunate incident. As a result the Trust does not consider there is anything more it can do and the matter has now been closed as far as it is concerned.”

Pam Thompson added: “In all honesty I don’t think Keith has ever got over it. Just not knowing what happened and the pain he went through.”

“We feel that this is very unfair, if they had said we can cover your costs to and from hospital it would have been helpful. We hope that this has not happened to anyone else. People should be aware that when waiting for responses there is a timescale.”