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Son's anger at level of care shown to his father at Boston's Pilgrim Hospital

By East Lindsey Target  |  Posted: September 29, 2012

Gavin Toon expressed anger at the level of treatment shown to his father at Boston's Pilgrim Hospital

THE son of an Ingoldmells builder has hit out at the level of care shown to his father who died at Boston's Pilgrim Hospital after being admitted with a chronic lung condition.

Speaking at an inquest, Gavin Toon expressed anger that his father, Royden, had not been treated by a specialist when he was admitted to the Clinical Decisions Unit on Good Friday after becoming seriously ill at home.

Mr Toon, of White Pit Way, Swaby, said: "When he was in such a critical condition, he needed a specialist who knew what he was doing at his bedside.

"The doctor who saw him laughed off his condition as if he was just anyone."

The inquest heard that the 62-year-old of Roman Bank, Ingoldmells, died later over the same holiday period.

In response to the criticism, Dr David Clifton, a Pilgrim consultant with expertise in diseases of the lung, explained that Mr Toon's condition - known as pulmonary fibrosis - was one for which there was not yet any known cure.

Even if he had been in attendance, there was little or nothing he could have done to have delayed the patient's death he told the inquest.

His son also had other complaints - including the delay experienced by his father before he underwent specialist treatment earlier in his illness.

He claimed that, despite suffering a persistent cough and other discomfort, his dad had been denied an X-ray for a full year on the grounds that he had not coughed up any blood.

As his condition deteriorated, his father had made the effort to lose weight in the expectation of being offered a dual heart-and-lung transplant operation at Papworth Hospital - only to have his hopes dashed after being told he was "not a suitable candidate."

Evidence was heard from Dr Martin Goddard, a consultant histopathologist at Papworth Hospital, who discounted suggestions that one of various potential trigger factors might have caused Mr Toon's illness.

These included his work, when younger, as a coalminer in Derbyshire; possible contact he might have had with hazardous substances such as asbestos and exposure to potentially noxious agricultural chemicals, such as fumes from a sheep dip, six years ago, when he had been hired for a roofing contract by a Yorkshire farmer.

Although Mr Toon had kept two pet budgies, the inquest heard that nothing in a blood test indicated that he might have sustained the condition, bird fancier's lung, which sometimes affects birdkeepers, though mostly only those with large, well-populated aviaries.

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, South Lincolnshire Coroner Professor Robert Forest described pulmonary fibrosis - which involves scarring and thickening of the lungs and makes exhaling difficult - as "a terrible condition which arises out of the blue from no known causes."

He continued: "It is a nasty progressive disease that eventually kills the victim unless something else gets there first."

The Coroner expressed his condolences to the family and commended Mr Toon for his contributions to the hearing which he described as "interesting and extremely helpful."

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