Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mother read hospital letter about son's death as he sat in next room

A pensioner was shocked to receive a letter from hospital bosses offering condolences on her son's death - as he was alive and in the next room. Former head chef Christopher Plummer, 43, had spent nine days in Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre in August, including 24 hours in intensive care, after complications following abdominal surgery. But since being discharged at the start of September, he has been recuperating at the North Hykeham home he shares with mum Catherine, 67. "When I received the letter Christopher had just got up and said good morning to me," said Mrs Plummer, a former nurse from Tamar Way. "It was all rather strange.

"I walked through to the next room and said to him I was just checking he was still there." "I've never seen anything like it," said Mr Plummer, who trained at Lincoln's White Hart Hotel and early in his career worked under Marco Pierre White at the Harvey's restaurant in London. "I have been having health problems for about three years and I did go in for an abdominal operation on August 27. Though the operation went fine, later that night I got a pain on my left side. Doctors checked me out and found my lung had collapsed, so moved me to intensive care to clean out the lung and put me on a ventilator.

"I spent 24 hours in intensive care and was then moved to a ward - in total I spent nine days in hospital before being allowed home to recuperate." The letter, from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, read: "We would like to offer our sincere condolences following the death of your son Christopher. We realise this must be a time of great sadness for you and your family." Despite the blunder Mr Plummer said he was taking the letter in good spirits. "A lady who helps mum with the ironing was coming round and I said to her not to bring the kids unless they like ghosts," he joked. But I had to ring the hospital to make sure the appointment with my surgeon was still going ahead today.

"To be fair they did ring my mum back and apologise - but you have to question what would happen if this sort of letter went to someone while their family member was still in hospital? Especially if they were old it could give them a heart attack." Hospital Trust spokesman Andrew Bennett, said: "Regrettably, a letter of condolence was sent to Mrs Plummer in error. We have spoken to the patient and family directly to offer our sincere apologies for any distress this has caused."

No comments: