Daughter’s year of hurt after hospital blunder

Terry Stewart
Terry Stewart

The devastated daughter of an Alnwick man, who died after a heart attack a year ago, has hit out at the hospital which lost his belongings.

Well-known Terry Stewart, who worked at The Willows Garden Centre, collapsed at The Oaks Hotel and suffered a massive heart attack on July 12 last year, aged just 52.

Terry Stewart

Terry Stewart

He was taken to Wansbeck General Hospital where he was pronounced dead later that evening.

But when his daughter Tania returned to collect his belongings 10 days later, she was first given the wrong items, before receiving the correct bag, but with items missing or damaged.

Terry’s gold necklace, which he wore all the time and has high sentimental value for Tania, has never been found.

And despite the anniversary of her father’s death being tomorrow, the 33-year-old mother-of-three still feels that the hospital hasn’t dealt with the issue properly and worries the same thing could happen again.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for Wansbeck, has apologised, but Tania thinks more should be done.

“All they have done is apologise, I haven’t got the things back and I don’t know if the person who’s taken the things is in trouble or if they know who’s done it,” she said. “I just don’t feel happy.

“They are just trying to pass the buck. I would hate for somebody else to go through it.”

When Tania – Terry’s only child – received the correct items, the day after she returned to Wansbeck, she noticed that items were missing.

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A new pair of trainers and his socks were gone, but it is the gold chain that bothers Tania, who works at Alnwick South First School, the most.

“He used to wear it all the time,” she said.

“It was around his neck when I saw him (in the hospital) and I was going to take it then, but I felt wrong taking it.

“I know I won’t see it again. He had had it for years and he never took it off. I don’t know the value of it, but I’m not bothered about that.”

The initial bag of belongings that she was given, she believes belonged to 21-year-old Alnmouth footballer, Stephen Carey, who died the same day.

When she received the correct bag, the trousers and top that Terry had been wearing were damp, while his belt was covered with mould.

When his body was at the funeral directors, Tania also noticed that a cannula had been left in his arm, although the Foundation Trust says that this is standard practice.

Tania, mother to Callum, 10, Corey, six, and Courtney, two, filed a complaint with the NHS at the end of July last year, but despite ongoing correspondence and meetings, she still feels ‘so stressed’ about the situation.

“It was something I had to do and I feel I haven’t really got anywhere,” she said. “I can’t rest until I get somewhere.”

“The person who’s done this, I would like them found out and I would like them sacked to be honest.

“I don’t know how you could do this to someone. I don’t think this person should get away with it.”

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “We would like to express our sincere condolences to Mr Stewart’s family for their sad loss.

“It is Trust policy for all valuables belonging to patients who die in our care to be documented and we apologise that this did not happen in this instance and for the distress this caused.

“This matter has been fully investigated and our staff reminded of the importance of recording deceased patients’ property, however, without documentation of the items in the department, we are unable to take any further action.

“While we understand no amount of money will replace items of sentimental value, we have offered to reimburse the family for the cost of the lost items.”