A former NHS director died after waiting for nine months for an operation – at her own hospital.
Margaret Hutchon, a former mayor, had been waiting since last June for a follow-up stomach operation at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex.
But her appointments to go under the knife were cancelled four times and she barely regained consciousness after finally having surgery.
Her devastated husband, Jim, is now demanding answers from Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust – the organisation where his wife had served as a non-executive member of the board of directors.
He said: ‘I don’t really know why she died. I did not get a reason from the hospital. We all want to know for closure. She got weaker and weaker as she waited and operations were put off.’
Mr Hutchon, of Great Baddow, Essex, said his wife, 72, had initially undergone major stomach surgery last June but the follow up procedures were repeatedly abandoned.
The former mayor remained at the hospital for months but her family feared she was becoming institutionalised and decided to bring her home until an operation was a certainty.
Mr Hutchon, 71, said: ‘The case has been referred to the coroner because of the long time it has taken. In some ways, I would like the coroner to order a post mortem.’
The pensioner said his wife had been left very weak before her operation because she had been unable to take in nutrients.
‘From July to October there was talk of another operation and then between November and December there were three or four postponements and she was becoming so institutionalised we decided to get her home until an operation was certain.
‘It was a blessing because although neither of is could have guessed it – it gave us a last month together.
‘Nevertheless, she was unable to take proper nourishment and went into the operation on the better side of a low state – she was very weak.’
Mrs Hutchon was well known and respected after serving in local government for the past 30 years and she became mayor of Chelmsford in 2006.
Mike Mackrory, a fellow Liberal Democrat councillor, said: We were all stunned to hear she had died after the operation. There were constant delays she had to endure before surgery.
‘We were given the very sad news and as word spread it threw a pall over the civic dinner. Margaret was much loved and respected in this town.’
A spokesman for Broomfield Hospital said it could not comment on individual cases.