Grieving family sue NHS ‘he suspected something was badly wrong’

(Reproduced with kind permission of the Kent Messenger Group).

A family are suing the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, claiming doctors failed to diagnose a cancer which took the life of a father of two.

Matthew Potts, who was 36, and lived at White Horse Lane, Otham, died in December 2006, of oesophageal cancer.

He left his wife, Kellie, 36 and his two children, Tyley, 18 and Jack, 11.

Mr Potts’ GP referred him to Maidstone Hospital in September 2003 with a history of stomach pains, breathing problems and anaemia. The doctor asked that the symptoms be investigated with an endoscopy.

This was carried out in December 2003 and the diagnosis was given as a large hiatus hernia.

Mr Potts’ symptoms worsened and are said to have included dramatic weight loss and difficulty swallowing.

Maidstone Hospital referred him to St Thomas’ Hospital in October 2004, where doctors arranged a CT scan and an endoscopy.

By this Mr Potts, who ran his own business as a sign writer, had to have his food liquidised and Mrs Potts said he suspected he had cancer.

In January 2005 doctors at St Thomas’ said he had oesophageal cancer.

Mr Potts had his stomach removed and went through extensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

He had been in hospital, but died at his mother Hillary’s house in Chatham, on December 28, 2006.

Mrs Potts said: “Me and my children have lost a loving husband and father.

Matt never complained during his long illness, despite the extensive treatment he had. His bravery was extraordinary and we miss him like made every day.”

Nick Fairweather, the family’s solicitor, said: “It is the family’s case that the hospital misdiagnosed the tumour as a hiatus hernia.

A trust spokesman said: “Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust would like to offer their condolences to the Potts family.

“It would be inappropriate to make any further comment at this time because this matter is the subject of a legal claim.”