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Brian Godding, from East Farleigh, died of cancer after Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells trust hospitals misdiagnosed cancer

By Alan Smith

A pain-racked pensioner was sent packing from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust hospitals three times diagnosed with arthritis when, in fact, he was riddled with cancer.

Brian Godding's family were so desperate to get the correct care that they eventually refused to take him home from Accident and Emergency.

And it was only after they insisted the 76-year-old should have a scan that cancer in Mr Godding’s colon, lungs, liver and stomach was detected. He died just three weeks later.

Brian Godding
Brian Godding

The family has complained to Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust over the treatment given to the father-of-four, which denied him the end-of-life care he needed.

It comes just a week after KentOnline revealed failings in the care of two elderly women.

Sandra Wood, 69, died from bowel obstruction a day after being discharged from Tunbridge Wells Hospital with a diagnosis of constipation.

And 85-year-old Edna Thompson shockingly died from dehydration at Maidstone Hospital.

Brian Godding's wife Joan and daughter Debbie Cooper claim he received poor care
Brian Godding's wife Joan and daughter Debbie Cooper claim he received poor care

Mr Godding, from Priory Close, East Farleigh, died on October 1 last year, after what his family described as a catalogue of delays and misdiagnoses.

Daughter Debbie Cooper said: "My father had always been a strong man, caring for his family and others. But the treatment he received was shameful."

Mr Godding first attended Maidstone Hospital's A&E on August 23. He was diagnosed with soft tissue damage and sent home. Four days later, still in severe pain, he was told it was probably arthritis.

"My father had always been a strong man, caring for his family and others. But the treatment he received was shameful" - Mr Godding's daughter Debbie Cooper

Five days on, he was in such agony he couldn't stand. His worried family contacted his GP who, hearing Mr Godding was slurring his words, sent an ambulance, but paramedics said Mr Godding had not had a stroke.

The family tried to persuade them to take Mr Godding to the Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury, hoping his illness would be taken more seriously there, but they would not.

Dr Makey, from Stockett Lane Surgery, made a home visit and said he would have Mr Godding admitted for an MRI scan.

But doctors would not admit him, saying they had no communication from the GP. A junior doctor could find nothing wrong and wanted to discharge him.

Mr Godding's wife Joan, who had been married to him for 58 years, said: "We knew there was something seriously wrong, but no one at Maidstone or Tunbridge Wells Hospital would listen."

It was then the desperate family took drastic action, refusing to take him home.

Mrs Cooper said: "We will be forever haunted by deserting him on a hospital trolley, with no pillow, in a tiny cupboard like room. Leaving him ill, in pain and alone. But we knew if we took him home, we would only have to start the whole process again the next day."

Brian Godding surrounded by his family
Brian Godding surrounded by his family

Mr Godding was finally admitted when the missing fax was found the following morning.

However, he was again diagnosed as having an arthritic hip and the family insisted he was given an MRI scan which revealed he had cancer on his colon, lungs, liver, stomach and a cancerous tumour on his thigh. His condition was terminal.

The family took him home and within three weeks he was dead.

Mrs Godding added: "There was never an apology. They just expect patients and their families will put-up with their incompetence."

Maidstone Hospital
Maidstone Hospital

A Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust spokesperson said: "We extend our deepest sympathies to Mr Godding’s family for their loss.

"The Trust can confirm that a letter has been received regarding their complaint and we are currently investigating what happened. It would therefore be inappropriate to make any further comment at this time."

Dr Bob Bowes, chairman of the NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group, said he was "very saddened" to hear of Mr Godding's treatment. He said he would ask the South East Commissioning Support Unit to investigate.

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