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Courier Harry Hoe’s agonising wait for fracture op at Darent Valley Hospital after crash


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A young man was left in agony for several days and lost a stone in weight after his operation was repeatedly delayed.

Courier Harry Hoe, from Sutton-at-Hone, was driving a van along the M20 when he was involved in a crash with a lorry.

He was taken to King’s College Hospital in London by air ambulance for initial treatment and was offered a bed but told medics could not operate to fix his knee cap for three days.

Harry Hoe, living at Balmoral Road, Suton-at-Hone, says he has been badly let down by Darent Valley Hospital after breaking his knee in a crash
Harry Hoe, living at Balmoral Road, Suton-at-Hone, says he has been badly let down by Darent Valley Hospital after breaking his knee in a crash

Staff called Darent Valley to see if he could be transferred there and treated quicker.

Darent Valley confirmed there was a bed ready and he could have the operation. So, with his girlfriend Brooklyn and her mother Tina Marsh, Mr Hoe booked the appointment and travelled down to the hospital.

But after a five-hour wait in A&E on Tuesday, November 8, they were told the bed had gone.

Mrs Marsh, 57, of Balmoral Road, said: “We were given some tablet pain killers and a pack of injections for blood clots and told to give Harry those. I didn’t have a clue what to do. Nobody showed us anything.”

The operation was re-booked for the Saturday, but – after Mr Hoe hadn’t eaten or drunk anything for nearly 24 hours – the hospital called to cancel again.

He was then put on standby, fasting every night and up until 2pm the next day, when the hospital would call to repeatedly give him the news they could not fit him in.

It was not until Tuesday, November 15 – 11 days after the accident – that he had the operation, which even then went ahead almost 12 hours later than scheduled.

Three weeks on, he is still recovering.

Mr Hoe, 21, said: “I’m still in a lot of pain and it was a nightmare waiting a week for the operation.

“I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t put any weight on my leg. I couldn’t move or sleep. And I’ve lost about a stone because I couldn’t eat for most of the time.

Darent Valley Hospital
Darent Valley Hospital

“I’m lucky I wasn’t worse off after the accident. I went into the back of the lorry in front when the driver slammed his brakes on, so it could have been much worse.

“The hospital has been dreadful. All they kept saying was ‘we’ve got a lot of traumas in’.

“I understand there are accidents all the time and people are in much worse situations than me, but if they didn’t have the space they shouldn’t have said they could take me. I could have stayed at King’s for three days and left.”

He was on Maple Ward for two days after the operation.

After being discharged, trying to book in to go back for an obligatory seven-day check-up and have his staples out was also problematic.

He called to make an appointment for November 22, but was told there were no slots for another three weeks.

In the end, Mrs Marsh called the ward directly, and they were able to fit him in.

Mrs Marsh added: “The problem wasn’t with the medical staff. Everyone at Maple was very lovely and helpful, and the operation went well. It was A&E and all the administration. The head and the hands don’t know what the other is doing.”

Mr Hoe is now in a full plaster cast from his hip to his ankle and has had his staples removed but it is expected to take a year for his leg to fully recover.

A spokesman for Darent Valley Hospital said: “We apologise to Mr Hoe for the delays in his operation. We try to see patients for planned or urgent surgery as quickly as possible, but the number of emergency admissions at this time of year makes it very difficult to guarantee, as priorities can change rapidly.

“We are happy to hear that Mr Hoe is now recovering well from his procedure and that he was pleased with the care that he received whilst in hospital.

“We would ask him to write to us so that we can look into the details of his complaint more formally and respond to him directly on all of his concerns.”

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