A SERIES of consultants allowed a dying man to be misdiagnosed with depression when he actually had terminal cancer, his family have revealed.
Eric Wallace was seen by seven different consultants after his cancer had been missed in a scan taken at the Vale of Leven hospital in Dumbarton.
But relatives feared his serious pain, weight loss and poor appetite were more than a low mood and insisted he was assessed by a clinical psychologist.
It was only then that the truth about his cancer emerged.
Former boat builder Eric, 81, from Helensburgh, was eventually diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died two weeks later.
His sister Susan Martin, from Rutherglen, said: “We were shocked by the level of care Eric got at the Vale of Leven.
“He was seen by seven consultants over six weeks but none of them were based at the hospital.
“They were not based at the Vale of Leven but at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley or Inverclyde Royal in Greenock.
“Eric’s wife Dorothy had passed away just six months earlier and the doctors assumed he was losing weight through depression.
“But we suspected he had something more serious because he knew he wasn’t depressed.
“It was then we asked for him to be assessed by a clinical psychologist who agreed with us.
“The cancer was then properly diagnosed. Pancreatic cancer has a poor survival and we accept that.
“However, Eric died without palliative care or the adequate pain relief patients desperately need.”
Eric’s family are also concerned about the standard of facilities at the hospital where he died.
Susan said: “There was no side room at the Vale of Leven hospital and he passed away in a ward, with only the curtains drawn.
“I noticed other rooms in the hospital had been closed. Surely a few could be set aside for dying patients and their relatives. The nurses were attentive but could only work with the facilities they had.”
Eric was well known in the area, running a boatyard and being an active member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament for more than 50 years.
Susan said: “Eric was a hard-working and good man. He surely deserved better than this. Anyone in their last days of life does.”
He died in December 2016 after six weeks in the hospital.
Susan complained to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and managers have since met with the family following an investigation.
Susan says improvements to the hospital include training in palliative care for nurses.
She added: “The hospital really needs a side room for patients in the last days of their lives.
“A consultant on-site is also vital.
“The population in Dumbarton and Helensburgh includes many elderly people and adequate care is vital.
“We are now taking this to the ombudsman.”
The Vale of Leven has been subject to protests by locals who cite cutbacks. They fear the hospital is being targeted for closure.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “We would like to reiterate our sincere condolences to the family on the very sad loss of their brother.
“We have listened to the concerns about their brother’s care and are disappointed that the family remain unsatisfied. When the patient was admitted appropriate investigations were carried out to reach a definitive cause of his symptoms.
“We wholeheartedly apologise that the family faced challenges when they requested updates on their brother’s condition and care plan. We took on board the family’s feedback in relation to the lack of activities available when patients are confined to bed.
“The family’s concerns have been shared with our senior clinical and managerial team to ensure learning from their poor experience across all our hospitals.”