Prelude: My story of negligence from doctors at Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield Hospital

My 53-year-old husband, Alan, suffered a dissecting thoracic aneurysm in 1999 and during the operation, performed by pioneering heart surgeon Prof Stephen Westaby, he lost the use of a lung and a kidney. He was in hospital for more than three months and ‘died’ several times. He attended hospital regularly thereafter for further scans. In October 2002 he had his final scan and was expecting to be discharged.

A week or so later he received a letter from the hospital saying that a small bulge had been found at the bottom of his aorta but it was nothing to worry about.

He was given a new appointment at Northampton General Hospital, for January 2003 where he was told by the consultant, Mr Ratliffe, that the aneurysm was now 7.5 cm and that because of the complications left by previous surgery, it was outside of his expertise. He was referred to Leicester Royal Infirmary urgently and immediately.

We saw Sir Professor Peter Bell, at LRI, in February and he explained to Alan the procedure he could do to repair the aneurysm. He felt there were a few options which wouldn’t involve re-opening the previous surgery site where his ribs are stapled together.

The operation was scheduled for April 2003.