Treatment ordeal of Bo’ness pensioner

A Bo’ness man, who has suffered from cancer for the last eight years, this week accused his medical team of failing him as his condition deteriorated.

By Clare Grant
Friday, 25th January 2019, 3:22 pm
Updated Friday, 25th January 2019, 4:25 pm
Forth Valley Hospital.
Forth Valley Hospital.

Derek Freeman (74) of Roman Road is now receiving palliative care and has decided to speak out about the treatment he received at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

This is amidst claims that staff bungled his treatment for cancer of the colon through poor communication, delays in treatment and failing to pay due care and attention to the content of his medical records.

Crucially, the retired BP process operator acquired these in part through a Freedom of Information request and did not like what he saw.

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This was after it emerged that his honest accounts of his own condition had met with lack of concrete and consistent understanding from medical professionals.

Mr Freeman said: “I noticed an entry in one headed ‘he believes’. On reading this entry by an oncologist, it is clear he did not believe what I told him regarding a Colorectal surgery and what had been said concerning chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the Beatson.

“At that time, both my sons – with a BSc and a PhD– and my wife were present. Various so-called experts gave varying views on how my cancer should be treated, most calling into question what others had said.

“These contradictions go as far back as contacting my own GP, informing him that a procedure may be possible then again contacting him saying that the procedure was impossible.

“I read in the hospital’s own magazine that one of its own employees had undergone tests and had a tumour removed from his colon in weeks – I want to know why I had to wait for more than a year for basically the same procedure. I believe this was favouritism.”

Mr Freeman said that another operation on a tumour in the liver could not take place because a wait for surgery rendered this inoperable – and that correspondence from another hospital regarding potential liver treatment was seemingly ignored by FVRH.

A health board spokesperson admitted the matter had already been the subject of an earlier investigation and a “detailed response.”

She added: “We acknowledge that, in the past, there have been a number of issues regarding communication and continuity of care, particularly for very complex cancer cases which involved treatment across a number of different hospitals and specialist centres.

“These issues have been addressed and our cancer treatment pathways have changed significantly over the last eight years in line with national guidance and best practice and a number of medical and technological advances.”