Waiting list Les dies after op

A PATIENT who highlighted long waiting times at Ipswich Hospital has died just days after finally getting the vital operation he was calling for.

Rebecca Lefort

A PATIENT who highlighted long waiting times at Ipswich Hospital has died just days after finally getting the vital operation he was calling for.

Last week great-grandfather Leslie Arbon criticised the Heath Road hospital in The Evening Star, for leaving him distraught by cancelling a vital operation twice - the second time just hours before it was due to go ahead.

He finally got the operation last Friday but the 62-year-old of Longfield, Felixstowe died on Sunday.

Today his devastated family face never truly knowing if his death could have been prevented if he had been treated sooner, or not been left stressed by the ordeal the hospital put him through.

The hospital has said it does not believe the time delay made any difference and that the surgery was high risk because he suffered from a number of serious medical conditions.

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A post mortem into his death will be released to the family later this week, and they hope it will shed more light on the mystery.

His daughter, Michelle Wooltorton, said: “There are questions we don't know the answers to, like if having the operation earlier would have helped.

“I think the stress from the week before really didn't help.

“Not being admitted for the operation he was expecting really hit him hard but he had calmed down a bit.

“We don't know if he had gone in before Christmas, like he should have, that it would have made a difference.

“We don't know what to say or what to do - nothing is going to bring him back.

“I know the staff at Ipswich Hospital were wonderful. They couldn't have been better.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said: “We extend our sincere condolences to Mr Arbon's family at this very sad time.

“Mr Arbon had a number of serious medical conditions and surgery was high risk.

“Doctors caring for Mr Arbon did explain these risks to him and we did everything we could to limit these risks including caring for Mr Arbon in a high dependency unit after surgery.

“Mr Arbon was treated within the national waiting times standard of a maximum of 26 weeks for inpatient care.”

Hospitals are supposed to treat 90 per cent of inpatients within 18 weeks, and 100 pc within 26 weeks.

- Would you like to pay a tribute to Leslie Arbon? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Leslie Arbon's treatment:-

Mr Arbon, featured last week in The Evening Star when he highlighted his long wait for an operation at Ipswich Hospital to try to stop it happening to others.

The former taxi driver of Longfield in Felixstowe, had been in and out of hospital since 2004 when one of his lungs was removed after he was diagnosed with cancer.

He then developed prostate problems, and in September he was told he needed an operation to determine if the cancer was back, and to remove part of his prostate if needed.

Originally he was told the op would be carried out before Christmas, but that didn't happen.

On March 16 he got a call to say Ipswich Hospital could fit him in two days later, but within 15 minutes, while he was arranging transport to the hospital, he was called again to say it had been cancelled.

Then another date of March 27 was arranged and Mr Arbon was taken to Heath Road at 7am.

The pre-theatre checks were carried but at about 10am a lack of beds in the high dependency unit (HDU) meant once again his operation had to be cancelled.

LESLIE Arbon will be remembered in Felixstowe for years to come for two major events which he helped to stage.

For several years, he was the man behind the resort's annual motorcycle show, which raised thousands of pounds for the East of England Air Ambulance and was also the key organiser in 2002 for the Felixstowe Golden Jubilee Music Festival.

Malcolm Minns, who was mayor at the time, said: “Without Les, Felixstowe would not have had an event to celebrate the Queen's jubilee - it was a terrific day which was hugely enjoyed by a great many people.

“I think Les will be remembered for those big events he brought to Felixstowe.

“He showed enormous initiative with the bike show, the music festival and other smaller events, which we just don't see our local authorities taking to bring people to our town, a job which is often these days left to hardworking private individuals.”