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Cancer patient 'left to lie in urine' for hours at south London hospital

Facebook profile photo of Terry Downs - who has made the complaint (Facebook / Terry Downs)
Facebook profile photo of Terry Downs - who has made the complaint (Facebook / Terry Downs)

A south London hospital has apologised after a cancer patient said his "horrible experience" left him lying for hours in his own urine.

Terry Downs, from Mitcham, said that he was given potentially harmful medication at St George’s Hospital in Tooting as he sought treatment for a number of health conditions.

“There's no care here, it's like a death ward,” said Mr Downs, who has worked as manager of charity shop British Heart Foundation, on Saturday.

“Some nurses are so nice but there’s the odd few [who] treated me like I didn’t matter because [they thought] I didn’t have long left.”

St George’s Hospital in Tooting (PA)
St George’s Hospital in Tooting (PA)

The 55-year-old has been given three months to live and has been treated for five cancerous brain tumours, lung and skin cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and vascular disease.

He first went to St George’s in September, his wife Tracy told the BBC. “[He was] very weak and quite ill - he could not move around that much as he was in a lot of pain".

"On one occasion, Terry had wet the bed one night," she said.

"He told one of the nurses on duty, but... she said it was not that wet and laid him back down in the bed until I arrived to see him, which was six hours later."

She added: "On another occasion, a nurse wanted to do Terry's observations and he had to move so she could get to him. He said, 'yes but I am a bit weak' and she replied 'I am waiting’.”

Mr Downs has been in and out of hospital since September and was readmitted in January with an inflamed bowel.

Tracy and Terry Downs (Facebook / Terry Downs)
Tracy and Terry Downs (Facebook / Terry Downs)

His wife told the BBC that mistakes were made at this point including one nurse trying to do a blood test on the same arm that he was receiving fluids into intravenously.

She said he was also given blood thinning medication which was on a list of remedies that he was prohibited from having.

Mr Downs said he has set up a GoFundMe to try and pay for his funeral costs.

He said of the hospital: "It's been a horrible experience and the care I received up until now has been terrible. I deserve better."

Both Mr Downs and St George's Hospital have been approached for comment by the Standard.

The hospital said in a statement released to the media: “We're very sorry to hear about Mr Downs' expressed concerns, which do not reflect the high standard of care we strive to give or the feedback we receive from other patients on this ward.

"No formal complaint was received at the time and no members of staff were removed from Mr Downs' care team.”