A procedure that led to the early death of a man's husband "robbed them" of their last few months together after his cancer diagnosis was missed. 

Neil Wyatt was left “completely devastated” when he lost his partner of 30 years and "love of his life", Kevin Minns, on May 12, 2023 at their Chantry home.

The trust which runs Ipswich Hospital has offered its condolences to the family and says they have “taken action to share the learning” from the incident.

On the morning of his consultation last year, the 70-year-old had been fit and active and working on scaffolding. By the end of the following day, he was incapacitated.

The couple owned a building firm together, with Mr Minns also running a property management company along with a part-time vinyl record dealing business from home.

Ipswich Star: Kevin Minns, 70, was an otherwise fit and healthy builder.Kevin Minns, 70, was an otherwise fit and healthy builder. (Image: Neil Wyatt)

In January last year, Mr Minns had lost some weight and visited his GP, who conducted tests and placed him on the two-week-wait cancer pathway.

A CT scan at Ipswich Hospital found a large lesion on the liver but the scan was not followed up due to a failure in internal communication.

As there was no scan image, Mr Minns was discharged from the cancer pathway.

In April, he developed a lump under his rib and his GP identified that the January CT scan had not been actioned.

An MRI took place, which found a large cancerous mass on the liver, and Mr Minns was called into hospital.

Mr Wyatt described how the consultant had given a brief apology, but told the couple that his case had been discussed at Addenbrooke's Hospital for a surgical option which gave them “hope”.

Mr Minns was admitted into hospital but three hours later, the same consultant said that Addenbrooke's would not be operating and there was nothing they could do.

During a biopsy the following day, the interventional radiologist who carried out the procedure cut an artery.

He was left with severe internal bleeding, which was only treated five hours later through a further procedure. He never recovered.

Mr Wyatt said: “I have no words to describe the way in which he was treated. I have lost the love of my life. It’s left me completely devastated.

Ipswich Star: The couple had been together for 30 years.The couple had been together for 30 years. (Image: Neil Wyatt)

"He was left bleeding for five hours. I later found that Addenbrooke's Hospital was never involved in his case, leading me to believe we were misled, as they wanted to be seen to be acting quickly after the missing scan results.

“His original prognosis would have given him months to live, and we were robbed of his final months."

He was then discharged on end-of-life care until his death two weeks later.

Senior coroner Nigel Parsley found that Mr Minns’ death occurred sooner than if the biopsy had not taken place.

In the inquest into his death at Suffolk Coroners Court, which concluded on April 11, the bleed was found to have reduced his ability to cope with his other medical conditions, which contributed to his death.

The bleed was "a relatively rare, but known" complication of the biopsy.

Dr Martin Mansfield, deputy chief medical officer at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Ipswich Hospital, said: “We would like to offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to Mr Minns’ partner and family at this very difficult time. 

Ipswich Star: Mr Wyatt was left devastated by the events.Mr Wyatt was left devastated by the events. (Image: Neil Wyatt)

“The trust carried out a thorough investigation into his care and treatment at Ipswich Hospital before the inquest into his death. Details were shared with both the coroner and Mr Minns’ partner and family.

“Our legal and complaints teams have also worked with Mr Minns' partner and family throughout the inquest process to address their concerns.

“We sincerely apologise for the error in our processes that led to Mr Minns' removal from the cancer pathway. We also apologise for the delay in the diagnosis of Mr Minns’ condition.

"We have taken action to share the learning from this incident, so we can improve the quality of the care we provide to patients in the future.”