Dying Darwen man denied pacemaker

Blackburn Citizen: Bob Sharples and his wife Joan Bob Sharples and his wife Joan

FURIOUS pensioner Bob Sharples says doctors have refused to fit him with a pacemaker because he has terminal cancer.

The 74-year-old from Darwen claims it was a ‘financial decision’ and he feels ‘badly let down by the people who should care most’.

Mr Sharples has developed a serious heart condition since being diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in August last year, and was told he would need a pacemaker fitted last month.

But his discharge notes from the Royal Blackburn Hospital, seen by the Lancashire Telegraph, said the cardiology team had decided not to proceed, because of his poor cancer prognosis and a lack of symptoms from the heart condition.

Hospital bosses said all decisions on treatment or intervention are based ‘entirely on clinical need’. They have offered the dad-of-three a meeting with the consultant to discuss his concerns.

The retired electrician claimed a consultant told him fitting the pacemaker would be ‘too expensive for someone with your condition’.

Mr Sharples, who volunteered as a special policeman for 25 years, said: “I’m so angry and upset and can’t believe they can just write me off and wash their hands of me. I’ve given a lot to society to just get a kick in the teeth, and I feel let down by the people who are supposed to care the most.”

The Dorset Avenue resident’s discharge notes state: “The patient has been asymptomatic for last three months, no dizziness or collapses. Reviewed by oncology and stated, and stated clearly, that he got [sic] very poor prognosis. Life expectancy usually in this condition is seven to nine months.

“In these circumstances and with this 24 ECG (heart monitor) result, cardiology team usually proceed with PPM (pacemaker). But in view of the poor prognosis and being asymptomatic for the last few months, cardiology team decided not to proceed with any intervention/PPM at present.”

Darwen MP Jake Berry said: “In tragic cases like this the hospital should be concentrating on ensuring the patient has the best possible quality of life.

“It is quite wrong that they impose this sort of rationing on someone.

“Mr Sharples can contact me and I will help him as much as I can.

“I want the hospital to concentrate on the quality of life, not the length.”

Mr Sharples said the cancer had spread to his liver and he was receiving chemotherapy until October, but said the intensive treatment had caused some damage to his heart.

After feeling dizzy and breathless medics put him on a heart monitor last month.

Wife Joan, 63, said they then received a call on January 21 and were told Mr Sharples should attend the hospital immediately.

She added: “We presume it was very urgent because they called at 8pm and said he would need to come in.

“We were told about the readings on the monitor and that he would need a pacemaker, but then the next day they said it wasn’t going ahead.

“It just seems like they’re just sending him home to die, but it’s still a life and worth just as much as any other. They should be doing everything they can to prolong it, even if it’s just a few months.

“We can’t afford to do it privately, as we’re already saving frantically for his funeral. He’s been very depressed and feels like they just want him off the books.”

A spokesman for East Lancashire Hopsitals NHS Trust said: “Clinical and medical information given and received either during a consultation or sent to a patient via the post following consultation or discharge is strictly confidential.

“All decisions for treatment or intervention are based entirely on clinical need.

“The trust has contacted Mr Sharples and a meeting has been arranged between the consultant and the manager of the cardiology service.”

Comments (10)

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9:30am Mon 3 Feb 14

shytalk says...

Money needs to be saved in the NHS. To pay the managers bonuses, and save the government money so they can give it to third world dictators to build a new nuclear bomb with.
Money needs to be saved in the NHS. To pay the managers bonuses, and save the government money so they can give it to third world dictators to build a new nuclear bomb with. shytalk

12:22pm Mon 3 Feb 14

midas says...

"because of his poor cancer prognosis and a lack of symptoms from the heart condition".

Thats why hes not getting a pacemaker!
"because of his poor cancer prognosis and a lack of symptoms from the heart condition". Thats why hes not getting a pacemaker! midas

2:12pm Mon 3 Feb 14

Champagne plus charlie says...

with all due respect to the poor guy, surely even HE can understand why he is not getting a pacemaker? He has been asymptomatic for months so in other words hasn't had any chest issues whatsoever and is only expected to live for another six to nine months at the outside??

And yet he finds the time in his last few months to complain about not getting a pacemaker, when it is quite clear it would be a waste of a surgeon's time and the already-beleaguered NHS would be much better diverting the resources elsewhere.
with all due respect to the poor guy, surely even HE can understand why he is not getting a pacemaker? He has been asymptomatic for months so in other words hasn't had any chest issues whatsoever and is only expected to live for another six to nine months at the outside?? And yet he finds the time in his last few months to complain about not getting a pacemaker, when it is quite clear it would be a waste of a surgeon's time and the already-beleaguered NHS would be much better diverting the resources elsewhere. Champagne plus charlie

4:14pm Mon 3 Feb 14

noddy57 says...

If this chap is liable to die from a heart attack long before the cancer kills him then l think the N H S are failing him after all he has paid into the system all these years isn,t he entitled to it ? they have a duty of care don,t they ?
If this chap is liable to die from a heart attack long before the cancer kills him then l think the N H S are failing him after all he has paid into the system all these years isn,t he entitled to it ? they have a duty of care don,t they ? noddy57

4:38pm Mon 3 Feb 14

chammy says...

This man has probably paid into the system all his life,He should be given a chance, For a society that is so bothered about human rights,how come the hardest working,and the people that have paid into the system always come off worse,I sincerly hope Bob gets the treatment that he wants and i wish him well.
This man has probably paid into the system all his life,He should be given a chance, For a society that is so bothered about human rights,how come the hardest working,and the people that have paid into the system always come off worse,I sincerly hope Bob gets the treatment that he wants and i wish him well. chammy

5:50pm Mon 3 Feb 14

kapalski says...

Champagne plus charlie wrote:
with all due respect to the poor guy, surely even HE can understand why he is not getting a pacemaker? He has been asymptomatic for months so in other words hasn't had any chest issues whatsoever and is only expected to live for another six to nine months at the outside??

And yet he finds the time in his last few months to complain about not getting a pacemaker, when it is quite clear it would be a waste of a surgeon's time and the already-beleaguered NHS would be much better diverting the resources elsewhere.
What an idiot you are, what is this was family of yours??? Sure you would be singing a different tune then wouldn't you!!

Who do they think they are deciding who is worthy of treating?

What if this was you? Surely you would want to live as long as you can!

Just remember, the karma bus always comes around!
[quote][p][bold]Champagne plus charlie[/bold] wrote: with all due respect to the poor guy, surely even HE can understand why he is not getting a pacemaker? He has been asymptomatic for months so in other words hasn't had any chest issues whatsoever and is only expected to live for another six to nine months at the outside?? And yet he finds the time in his last few months to complain about not getting a pacemaker, when it is quite clear it would be a waste of a surgeon's time and the already-beleaguered NHS would be much better diverting the resources elsewhere.[/p][/quote]What an idiot you are, what is this was family of yours??? Sure you would be singing a different tune then wouldn't you!! Who do they think they are deciding who is worthy of treating? What if this was you? Surely you would want to live as long as you can! Just remember, the karma bus always comes around! kapalski

8:57pm Mon 3 Feb 14

phil kernot says...

Accountants running the nhs , whats the country coming to when the nhs put money saving Before people's health bet all the mps have private health care so thay live in cuckoo land and don't care ,, , you can go to any hospital in the eu and thay have to treat you and the nhs has to pick up the bill , ,, hope this outrage gets over turned soon.
Accountants running the nhs , whats the country coming to when the nhs put money saving Before people's health bet all the mps have private health care so thay live in cuckoo land and don't care ,, , you can go to any hospital in the eu and thay have to treat you and the nhs has to pick up the bill , ,, hope this outrage gets over turned soon. phil kernot

10:09pm Mon 3 Feb 14

Darrens Delivery Service says...

kapalski wrote:
Champagne plus charlie wrote:
with all due respect to the poor guy, surely even HE can understand why he is not getting a pacemaker? He has been asymptomatic for months so in other words hasn't had any chest issues whatsoever and is only expected to live for another six to nine months at the outside??

And yet he finds the time in his last few months to complain about not getting a pacemaker, when it is quite clear it would be a waste of a surgeon's time and the already-beleaguered NHS would be much better diverting the resources elsewhere.
What an idiot you are, what is this was family of yours??? Sure you would be singing a different tune then wouldn't you!!

Who do they think they are deciding who is worthy of treating?

What if this was you? Surely you would want to live as long as you can!

Just remember, the karma bus always comes around!
well said kapalski.must say though that the N.H.S has treated me well over the years.Pace-maker fitted 13 years ago.. but now got problems again...oh well... All the very best to you Bob.
[quote][p][bold]kapalski[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Champagne plus charlie[/bold] wrote: with all due respect to the poor guy, surely even HE can understand why he is not getting a pacemaker? He has been asymptomatic for months so in other words hasn't had any chest issues whatsoever and is only expected to live for another six to nine months at the outside?? And yet he finds the time in his last few months to complain about not getting a pacemaker, when it is quite clear it would be a waste of a surgeon's time and the already-beleaguered NHS would be much better diverting the resources elsewhere.[/p][/quote]What an idiot you are, what is this was family of yours??? Sure you would be singing a different tune then wouldn't you!! Who do they think they are deciding who is worthy of treating? What if this was you? Surely you would want to live as long as you can! Just remember, the karma bus always comes around![/p][/quote]well said kapalski.must say though that the N.H.S has treated me well over the years.Pace-maker fitted 13 years ago.. but now got problems again...oh well... All the very best to you Bob. Darrens Delivery Service

10:54am Tue 4 Feb 14

kapalski says...

Darrens Delivery Service wrote:
kapalski wrote:
Champagne plus charlie wrote:
with all due respect to the poor guy, surely even HE can understand why he is not getting a pacemaker? He has been asymptomatic for months so in other words hasn't had any chest issues whatsoever and is only expected to live for another six to nine months at the outside??

And yet he finds the time in his last few months to complain about not getting a pacemaker, when it is quite clear it would be a waste of a surgeon's time and the already-beleaguered NHS would be much better diverting the resources elsewhere.
What an idiot you are, what is this was family of yours??? Sure you would be singing a different tune then wouldn't you!!

Who do they think they are deciding who is worthy of treating?

What if this was you? Surely you would want to live as long as you can!

Just remember, the karma bus always comes around!
well said kapalski.must say though that the N.H.S has treated me well over the years.Pace-maker fitted 13 years ago.. but now got problems again...oh well... All the very best to you Bob.
Thank you Bob

I think its absolutely disgraceful the way they treat people

regardless of who they are or how old they are, everyone has the right to life, however long that may be.

How dare they make these decisions because they don't see the point, I am sure this gentleman's family feel differently. This trust is too quick at deciding who is worth treatment and who isn't, perhaps if they wasn't paying out such ridiculous amounts of money to ACTING CEO's and the like, then I am sure this trust could afford to provide a pacemaker!

I hope the problems you are having are sorted for you :-) take care
[quote][p][bold]Darrens Delivery Service[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]kapalski[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Champagne plus charlie[/bold] wrote: with all due respect to the poor guy, surely even HE can understand why he is not getting a pacemaker? He has been asymptomatic for months so in other words hasn't had any chest issues whatsoever and is only expected to live for another six to nine months at the outside?? And yet he finds the time in his last few months to complain about not getting a pacemaker, when it is quite clear it would be a waste of a surgeon's time and the already-beleaguered NHS would be much better diverting the resources elsewhere.[/p][/quote]What an idiot you are, what is this was family of yours??? Sure you would be singing a different tune then wouldn't you!! Who do they think they are deciding who is worthy of treating? What if this was you? Surely you would want to live as long as you can! Just remember, the karma bus always comes around![/p][/quote]well said kapalski.must say though that the N.H.S has treated me well over the years.Pace-maker fitted 13 years ago.. but now got problems again...oh well... All the very best to you Bob.[/p][/quote]Thank you Bob I think its absolutely disgraceful the way they treat people regardless of who they are or how old they are, everyone has the right to life, however long that may be. How dare they make these decisions because they don't see the point, I am sure this gentleman's family feel differently. This trust is too quick at deciding who is worth treatment and who isn't, perhaps if they wasn't paying out such ridiculous amounts of money to ACTING CEO's and the like, then I am sure this trust could afford to provide a pacemaker! I hope the problems you are having are sorted for you :-) take care kapalski

12:10pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Fire Fly says...

This is a really difficult situation & i'm sure if any of us or our families were in the same boat we'd want the pacemaker fitting BUT are our wishes more important that what is in our best interests?

From a clinical point of view - he's had no symptoms for months, therefore anyone on the waiting list for a pacemaker would be refused. In this case the gentleman has terminal cancer (oesophagus)...this has a huge bearing on the decision also - like it or not, we would all be kicking & screaming if the NHS wasted millions on providing treatments that had no chance of working...simply because someone wanted it & has paid into the system.

If this procedure went ahead & the man had any adverse reaction during it which resulted in him requiring resusitation & then...intubation...
would they actually be able to perform that due to the cancer being in the oesophagus? These are things the medics have to think about in making decisions, not nice at all but it has to be done.

Sadly, they have had to make a decision based on what possible benefit will he get from the pacemaker & the answer is none. The pacemaker will be used for someone who desperately needs it now & will have an improved quality of life.

Having said all this, you can't honestly knock this couple for desperately wanting to grab any chance however slight, which may extend his life, even by a small amount. My heart goes out to you.
This is a really difficult situation & i'm sure if any of us or our families were in the same boat we'd want the pacemaker fitting BUT are our wishes more important that what is in our best interests? From a clinical point of view - he's had no symptoms for months, therefore anyone on the waiting list for a pacemaker would be refused. In this case the gentleman has terminal cancer (oesophagus)...this has a huge bearing on the decision also - like it or not, we would all be kicking & screaming if the NHS wasted millions on providing treatments that had no chance of working...simply because someone wanted it & has paid into the system. If this procedure went ahead & the man had any adverse reaction during it which resulted in him requiring resusitation & then...intubation... would they actually be able to perform that due to the cancer being in the oesophagus? These are things the medics have to think about in making decisions, not nice at all but it has to be done. Sadly, they have had to make a decision based on what possible benefit will he get from the pacemaker & the answer is none. The pacemaker will be used for someone who desperately needs it now & will have an improved quality of life. Having said all this, you can't honestly knock this couple for desperately wanting to grab any chance however slight, which may extend his life, even by a small amount. My heart goes out to you. Fire Fly

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