Northampton woman claims she was told to blow her dying husband a kiss from the window

Peter Sharman.
Peter Sharman.
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A Northampton widow has hit out at NGH after she said the last few moments with her dying husband were taken away from her.

Potterspury man Peter Sharman died at Northampton General Hospital on July 19 last year after a series of complications following an operation to remove his voice box, which had become cancerous.

On June 27, the 68-year-old former civil servant suffered sudden and unexpected' bleeding as a result of an infection and deteriorated rapidly.

However an inquest yesterday saw Mr Sharman's family raise several concerns about the way his condition was communicated to them during the time he was at the head and neck ward.

"When he was on the head and neck ward there was a total lack of communication," said his widow Pauline at the County Hall hearing.

"The ward staff didn't seem to know anything."

On one occasion family members said Mr Sharman was taken into emergency surgery without their knowledge, leaving them unable to locate him for eight hours.

The inquest also heard that the family felt the risks associated with the radiotherapy treatment he was receiving were not communicated fully.

They claimed to have seen staff cleaning his tracheotomy tube under a 'cold tap'.

But in the final few hours of his life, Mrs Sharman claims intensive care staff told her she was not allowed to sit with her husband of 48 years.

She said: "We weren't allowed to go and sit with him hours before he died.

"They told us they wanted to make him comfortable. They said we couldn't go back in, but we could walk to the door and blow him a kiss.

"They took those precious final few minutes away from us."

A spokeswoman for Northampton General Hospital said: “We extend our deep condolences to Mrs Sharman and her family.

“We were saddened to hear the family’s concerns, specifically those relating to the time of Mr Sharman’s death. There are times when we ask relatives to leave the bedside while we carry out medical or nursing care; however, we encourage and support relatives to be with their loved ones whenever possible.

“We will continue to support the family by obtaining any further information they require to help them understand the care that was provided to Mr Sharman.”

Giving a narrative conclusion at the inquest, coroner Anne Pember, said: "He had complications requiring further major surgical procedures, yet had an infection from his surgical procedure."