Wigan widow's anger at husband's funeral delay

Philippa Alderson
Philippa Alderson

A grieving Wigan widow has slammed a regional hospital after her husband’s funeral had to be delayed by bungling doctors not filling out forms correctly.

Philippa Alderson, whose husband Alan died last month aged just 54, hit out at Wythenshawe Hospital after vital details such as the time of his death were left blank on forms sent to the coroner.

That meant the documents had to be returned to the hospital and then sent back to the coroner’s office.

While this was going on Philippa, who is from Shevington, was essentially left in limbo and unable to make any arrangements for Alan’s funeral.

The hospital has now issued an apology for the delay and distress the mistakes have caused to Philippa and her family.

Those who knew and loved Alan were finally able to say their last farewells to him at a ceremony at Wigan Crematorium on Friday afternoon.

Philippa, 55, said: “It’s totally unacceptable. They made me wait more than a week because they didn’t put the date of death on the coroner’s referral and it had to be sent back.

“That meant another five days waiting for the results and me not even being able to arrange my own husband’s funeral.

“Family and friends all wanted to lay him to rest and say their goodbyes and we just couldn’t. It wasn’t fair at all.

“It’s really distressing for families, dragging things out and leaving them unable to sort things out. It’s prolonging it for them.

“Everyone you spoke to about anything just told you to come back once you’d got the death certificate.”

The hospital has said it is sorry for the problems.

A spokesperson for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are very sorry for the time it took to progress matters to enable the family to plan the funeral arrangements, and we understand how distressing this was for them.

“We have offered our condolences to the family of the deceased.”

Alan’s life-support machine was switched off following a dramatic and shocking deterioration in his health less than a month after he first became ill.

Originally diagnosed with sepsis after he failed to recover as expected from feeling unwell after a takeaway, he continued to become more poorly and was eventually found to have endocarditis, a devastating infection which attacks the valves and linings of the lungs.

He also suffered a stroke while in hospital and doctors at Wythenshawe, which he was transferred to from Wigan Infirmary as it is a specialist hospital, eventually concluded the prognosis for Alan was extremely poor.

Philippa says the medical experts believe there was another underlying infection that caused him to be so ill, as his lungs kept filling up with fluid rapidly and doctors were struggling to understand why.