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Health campaigner let down, claim

PUBLISHED: 22:06 17 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:40 03 March 2010

IAN Heeley has spent years devoting his time to help the health of others but now he feels the medical system has let him down.

Mr Heeley, a well-known Suffolk fundraiser, believes he had deep vein thrombosis in his leg in June but said it took doctors at Ipswich Hospital two months to detect it.

By JOANNE CONSTABLE

joanne.constable@eveningstar.co.uk

IAN Heeley has spent years devoting his time to help the health of others but now he feels the medical system has let him down.

Mr Heeley, a well-known Suffolk fundraiser, believes he had deep vein thrombosis in his leg in June but said it took doctors at Ipswich Hospital two months to detect it.

He believed his medical notes had not been read. Mr Heeley had one leg amputated 21 years ago after an accident while working at Felixstowe Port but he was asked by a doctor if he could compare his two legs.

Also a drip, feeding Mr Heeley antibiotics, was not replaced for up to eight hours on two occasions, which meant he missed out on treatments of medication.

The Evening Star revealed last week a daughter's story of how her mother, former councillor Molly Hammond, died after the same hospital allegedly failed to spot her DVT.

Angry Mr Heeley MBE said he was one of the lucky ones. Doctors finally recognised his symptoms last month and began treating him for the blood clot in his leg.

Mr Heeley, 52, visited his GP in the first week of June after spotting a thick red line running from his ankle to his groin. Like Mrs Hammond he was treated for cellulitis, an inflammation of body tissue, and was given a prescription of medication. He suffered so much from the pain in his leg that he could not walk. A week later he called a doctor out to his home and was told that he had suspected DVT and should be admitted to hospital.

He spent ten days in Ipswich Hospital and was told that he would have a scan on his leg to detect the suspected blood clot.

But when he was released having been further treated for cellulitis he went home without having the promised scan.

For a month he was just told to continue taking the medication. But on August 7 the pain in his leg had become so severe that he went back to his doctor and was told to pack an over-night bag as he was going to be readmitted immediately for treatment for DVT.

Mr Heeley, of King Street, Felixstowe, who has raised over £100,000 for Ipswich Hospital, said: "If I hadn't gone to my doctor there could have been people sending my daughter and parents flowers now."

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said: "Mr Heeley's comments and allegations made to the Evening Star are obviously taken very seriously by the Trust."

She said that the hospital could not make a comment on Mr Heeley's case due to patient confidentiality, as a formal complaint had not been lodged, otherwise she said an immediate investigation would have taken place.

"We urge Mr Heeley to get in touch so that senior clinicians can carry out a thorough review of his treatment and care and we can discuss this personally with Mr Heeley."

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