The partner of a woman recovering from cancer and waiting on an operation for her double leg break says it has been “the week from hell”.
Linda Whitfield had her bowels removed after cancer cells were found and is still undergoing chemotherapy to kill the disease.
Then on Wednesday, February 1, the 61-year-old tripped on her handbag strap when getting out the car on Watling Street Road in Fulwood, Preston, breaking her leg in two places.
Now in a Royal Preston Hospital bed with her leg suspended in the air, Linda has had the surgery on her leg cancelled several times as staff continue to battle with capacity and resources.
“It really has been a nightmare,” Linda’s partner Geoff Paton said. “Linda’s not allowed to eat all day before surgery only to be told it’s cancelled at the end of the day.
“She’s missed a chemotherapy appointment too and it’s now more than a week she’s been laying in hospital.”
The nightmare started for the Fulwood couple when Geoff took Linda to post a birthday card.
“She tripped and was lying in the road and all the traffic was backed up behind her,” the 60-year-old said. “We phoned for an ambulance but then a police officer who was stuck in the traffic came over.
“She picked Linda up and put her back in the car, telling me to take her to hospital and she would cancel the ambulance. I wasn’t too pleased with that because I don’t think someone with a serious leg injury should be moved.”
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “We assisted with traffic management after a woman fell and suffered a leg injury in Watling Street Road, Fulwood, at around 2pm on February 1. We later helped the woman into her husband’s vehicle after the couple made the decision to make their own way to hospital rather than wait for an ambulance. The officers present at the time have since been spoken to and say they felt they acted on the wishes of the couple. However, we would like to apologise if there was any confusion and we now wish the woman all the best with her recovery.”
Now doctor’s receptionist Linda has been told her operation will be this weekend and Geoff says it can’t come soon enough.
“This last week or so has been hell and hopefully the op won’t get cancelled again,” the IT support engineer said. “The chemo has been suspended so she won’t miss anymore.
“Her immune system is down because of therapy and she’s not feeling good at all just sat in hospital.”
Suzanne Hargreaves, operations director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Firstly we would like to sincerely apologise for any distress that has been caused to Miss Whitfield and her family.
“We aim to always provide excellent care with compassion for our patients and we regret that we were unable to deliver the standard of care expected on this occasion.
“Unfortunately we sometimes have no option but to postpone procedures to make sure we have enough capacity and resources to look after patients with serious and life threatening conditions.
“We appreciate that it can be frustrating going without food prior to surgery and then for the operation to be cancelled, as soon as we become aware that an operation has to be rearranged we ensure that patients are offered food.
“We continue to liaise closely with Miss Whitfield and her family to re-schedule her procedure and treatment as soon as possible.”