Dad dying of cancer on short-stay ward in so much pain he can’t hold wife’s hand

A dad-of-five was in so much pain as he lay dying of cancer that he couldn't even hold his wife's hand.

Keith Rumley was left in horrendous pain on a short-stay ward for weeks while his family were left in the dark about his cancer diagnosis.

His wife Susan didn't find out he had cancer until she received his death certificate.

Mr Rumley first went to his GP with back pain in July 2018 and was prescribed painkillers, reports Grimsby Live.

After countless visits to the GP and A&E, he was admitted to the Emergency Care Centre at Grimsby's Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, due to his deteriorating health and more reports of back pain.

CT, MRI, and bone scans revealed that Keith had metastatic adenocarcinoma, where primary cancer cells break away and spread to other parts of the body.

Despite this, Keith's family say he spent the next four weeks on the short-stay ward, while they remained unaware of his diagnosis.

He was only moved off the ward to go to St Andrew’s Hospice after a month, where he received end-of-life care until his tragic death six days later. It was only when the family received the death certificate that they say they knew he had cancer.

Daughter Carly Rumley said: "He started having a niggling back pain. He thought maybe he had pulled his back or something like that and eventually went to the GP.

"He went from being a normal bloke doing normal things to the state that he couldn’t even sit up, stand up, or go to the toilet."

Susan Rumley, his wife, said: "Every time he came home from the hospital he got weaker and weaker, until one day a doctor had him admitted to find out what was wrong with him.

"He was left there, in a bed, for four solid weeks seeing doctor after doctor. After a week he wasn't awake, wasn't talking, wasn't eating and had to be forced to drink. I was told that he had lesions on the spine and it was cancer, but the doctors denied it the next day, saying it was only 'suspected'."

Carly added: "The doctors kept coming and going, one minute he had cancer, one minute he didn't. By the end, he had basically withered to nothing."

Julie Winterton, another daughter, said: "We asked a doctor straight, 'has he got cancer?', and she would not tell us straight. All we wanted to know is did he have it, or didn’t he?"

The family submitted a formal complaint to the trust's Patient Advice and Liaison Service following Mr Rumley's death on October 9 last year, but an investigation has concluded that on each occasion the correct care and treatment was provided at the Emergency Care Centre.

Carly said: "Procedures need to be changed how to treat people, how to treat relatives. We don't want another family to sit and go through what we went through, living in hell.

"My dad didn’t get that chance. He did not get his chance to die with dignity.”

Susan said: "It got to the stage that, if I even touched his hand, he'd say to me 'please let go of my hand.' I'd ask why, and he'd say 'Because it hurts. Please don't touch me'.

"I felt for him because his dignity was taken away. He wasn’t there anymore."

Carly added: "His grandkids couldn't even hug him because he was in so much pain. The only respect my dad got was when we got him out of the  hospital  and got him into St Andrew's. That was when the proper care began, they did everything for my dad, for my mum."

Keith is survived by wife, Susan, daughters, Carly, Julie, and Victoria, sons, Colin and Kevin, and 13 grandchildren.

He was originally from Mansfield and came to  Grimsby  to get involved with the fishing industry in the area. He met Susan and never left.


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