Saturday 24 March 2018

My wife got a date for X-ray – 14 years after she died

John Dale with a picture of his late wife Linda
John Dale with a picture of his late wife Linda
The letter from The Radiology Department in Tallaght Hospital to Linda Dale, who passed away from cancer 14 years ago

Sam Griffin

A WIDOWER who received an x-ray appointment for his wife 14 years after she passed away wants the hospital to explain how the mistake occurred.

Mother-of-two Linda Dale, originally from Drimnagh in Dublin, died in 1999, around 10 months after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Linda had sought treatment in Tallaght Hospital with a stomach complaint but then switched to St James's Hospital when she secured an x-ray.

She was diagnosed with cancer following scans and blood tests which revealed a massive tumour in her ovary.

"Her whole stomach had swollen up. Anyone who saw her would have thought she was nine months pregnant. It was obvious something was wrong," her husband John said.

"I don't blame anyone but within 10 months of the diagnosis, she had passed away."

This week John received a letter from Tallaght Hospital, addressed to his late wife, stating she had an appointment for an x-ray spine cervical procedure in the hospital's radiology department on August 6 at 10.30am.

John says Linda, his wife of 20 years, had been put on a number of waiting lists when she first attended Tallaght and believes this procedure must relate to one of those.

He said he thought it was a joke originally but added the letter has caused him a great deal of distress. "Having gone through bereavement and counselling sessions and then to get this letter for your wife who's been dead for 14 years, it just drags it all back up. It's hard to believe really," he said.

The couple had two daughters, Leanie (32) and Channine (28). John said his younger daughter, who is getting married in three weeks, had found the letter was particularly distressing.

The widower rang the hospital after he got the letter but says he has been offered "no explanation" and is open to meeting with hospital management to find out how the blunder occurred.

"I'm surprised Tallaght (Hospital) haven't even got on to me. They might get onto me but they haven't yet. They might send me a letter of apology or ask me to want to meet with them so they explain what happened," he said.

A spokesperson for Tallaght Hospital said it has noted the enquiry "in relation to the late Mrs Linda Dale and the concerns raised".

It has have notified the Patient Advocacy Department – who act on behalf of current and past patients of the hospital, and their families – and said they are "available" to speak to the Dale family.

Irish Independent

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