Probe launched into mum’s ‘cancer’ death

Karen Masters holding a photograph of her dad Derek and mum Margaret

Karen Masters holding a photograph of her dad Derek and mum Margaret

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POLICE are re-opening an investigation into the death of a pensioner at a Wigan hospital.

Despite the fact that an inquest ruled Margaret Hesketh, of Poolstock, died of natural causes, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are assessing further evidence which could shed further light on her death.

Someone needs to be held to account. This has affected my family so much - my dad, Derek, has had a breakdown and is now in a care home

Karen Masters

Her family are angry that the 70-year-old was incorrectly diagnosed with cancer after she was admitted for a chest infection, which they believe led to her being placed on end of life care last November.

Doctors then discovered she didn’t have cancer, but the family insist they failed to inform them of this.

Had this occurred, they would have insisted her treatment for pneumonia and malnutrion continue, and she would still be alive. Her daughter, Karen Masters, claims that shortly after her death, GMP informed her that it was treating her death as suspicious, but after an investigation, concluded that the hospital was not to blame and there was no issues surrounding neglect.

But Karen, of Poolstock, is refusing to back down and has since sourced various documents relating to the grandmother-of-six’s treatment and handed them to the police.

As a result, the force has re-opened its case.

Karen, 45, said: “This whole thing was started by the police as when my mum died, we got a phone call from them saying they were treating her death as sudden and unexplained.

“As a result we had a post mortem and it flagged up that she had no cancer.

“The inquest ruled her death was natural causes, but I have refused to pick up her death certificate as I want another inquest.

“I wrote a letter to the police and they have listened to what I am saying. They have agreed to assess the recording of the inquest and review all evidence and conduct an investigation.

“I am also suing the hospital for neglectful misdiagnosis and withholding information that mum didn’t have cancer.

“Because they thought the cancer was too aggressive to treat, she was put on end of life care.

“But if we knew she didn’t have cancer, we would have demanded doctors put her on a drip and feeding tube to treat her pneumonia and malnutrion. We could have saved her.

“During the inquest it was stated that my mum was fed, but I have food charts saying she had no food for six days.

“I just want the truth to come out.

“Someone needs to be held to account. This has affected my family so much - my dad, Derek, has had a breakdown and is now in a care home.”

A spokesman for GMP said: “On June 3, police received a letter of complaint with regard to a number of allegations including the police investigation into the death of a 70-year-old woman.

“Following an inquest, the coroner ruled she died of natural causes.

“With the full support of the coroner, file papers have been released and a review of the evidence will now be conducted.”

The hospital trust said it stopped using the so-called Liverpool Care Pathway, which had been criticised for speeding up the death of some patients and masking possible signs of recovery, in July 2014.

A spokesman for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “We believe we did all we could for Mrs Hesketh whilst she was under our care. The trust puts patient safety at the heart of everything we do.”