Dying man's 20-year wait for diagnosis

A TERMINALLY ill man from Worle has hit out at Weston General Hospital for failing to test him for cancer 20 years ago. John Matthew, aged 60, of Spencer Drive, claims he has been suffering from pains and a number of cancer-related symptoms for more than

A TERMINALLY ill man from Worle has hit out at Weston General Hospital for failing to test him for cancer 20 years ago.John Matthew, aged 60, of Spencer Drive, claims he has been suffering from pains and a number of cancer-related symptoms for more than 20 years after coming into contact with cancerous substances while working at the former Westlands factory site in Winterstoke Road, Weston.He has been admitted to hospital on numerous occasions for suspected food poisoning, appendicitis and gastroenteritis due to severe pains in his stomach, which he believes was actually cancer all along.He claims he told staff he feared he had the condition each time he was admitted, but was never tested for the disease.He said: "Six months ago I was in again because my liver had swollen up. The doctors decided to do urinary tests and blood tests to check for cancer and they scanned me and found tumours in my stomach and liver."I had more tests and they've now told me it's terminal."John was given a drug to try to keep the cancer under control and ease the symptoms but he stopped taking it due to painful side effects such as stomach cramps, diarrhoea and bleeding gums.John said: "The drug eases the effect cancer has on you, which proved to me I've had it for 20 years."Weston General Hospital confirmed services for patients with suspected or confirmed malignant disease is dealt with across the Cancer Network, which means some patients are referred to the United Bristol Healthcare Trust for assessment and treatment.A spokesman said: "Our records show that, following concerns about this gentleman, he was referred to UBHT in September last year."John worked at Westlands for over 17 years as a machinist and fitter. He claims he began feeling ill in 1985 after coming into contact with cancerous substances such as depleted uranium, acetone and keytone, on a daily basis.He said: "I was ill for four days a week and was in a near state of collapse. The doctors couldn't find out what was wrong. "Lots of people were feeling ill and suffering unpleasant symptoms such as rectal bleeding and sweating."A spokesman for Agusta-Westland said: "We can confirm that John Matthew worked for Westland Helicopters in Weston from 1973 to 1992. We are sorry to hear that Mr Matthew has been diagnosed with cancer, but we are unable to comment further on his claims."But despite his claims John is not suing the hospital or his former employer.He said: "I'm not pleased. I'm not suing the hospital because it takes funds off of it and so a lot of patients would suffer. It can't be put right. I just wish they'd done the tests earlier when I asked.


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