Fratton widower says he can't get answers over how and why his wife died - and has questions for QA hospital, police and coroner

A grieving husband says he has come up against a brick wall when trying to find out how his wife died.

Friday, 8th November 2019, 9:43 am
Jim West (67) from Fratton, whose wife Pamela died on January 10. Picture: Sarah Standing (170919-6438)

Heartbroken James West was devastated when his wife Pamela Hurlston-West died at Queen Alexandra Hospital in January.

He was shocked to learn that she had died from lung cancer, having been told she had originally been admitted for a hole in her food pipe.

And he was stunned to learn a police investigation had been held into her death - and that nobody in authority would tell him what happened.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Mr West from Fratton said: ‘How can they not tell me that they were investigating my wife’s death? 

Read More

Read More
Upset as Portsmouth cancer centre set to close next month

‘I spoke to the hospital who told me to speak to the coroner who told me to speak to the police but no one has told me anything even eight months on.

‘I am at the end of my tether.’

The coroner and Queen Alexandra Hospital have refused to comment on the case, and police have only said that an investigation showed that the death was not suspicious.

Mr West enlisted the help of his MP Stephen Morgan, who wrote to Hampshire Constabulary to ask for further information on his behalf.

 In a letter dated September 4 to Mr West from Mr Morgan, a response stated: ‘Ultimately the information regarding this investigation belongs to the hospital and they have refused to give permission to share this with Mr West.

‘Having spoken to the doctor who has made this decision, [the investigator] explained to Mr West that he can formally request the information but that it would be extremely unlikely that they would release this unless for a significant purpose.’

Mr Morgan’s office declined to release details to Mr West or The News regarding the case.

Retired nurse Pamela went into the Cosham hospital at the start of December last year as she wasn’t eating properly and kept being sick.

Mr West, 67, said: ‘We were told she had a hole in her food pipe and she would have an operation. I was called in and told that they couldn’t do the operation and they had done all they could for her.

‘They mentioned it might be cancer but then said it wasn’t. In the end she couldn’t eat and had to have water fed to her through a sponge. It was awful.’

Jim was then left baffled when Pamela’s death certificate said she had died of lung cancer.

He said: ‘I just don’t understand it. They told me it wasn’t cancer and they have now said it was lung cancer.

 ‘I have complained to the hospital and they have been no help. 

‘I just want to grieve for my wife and nobody is giving me answers.’

‘Everyone is being very secretive and it makes me wonder what they have to hide.

‘I have no issue with her treatment at the hospital so I don’t understand why they can’t just tell me what is happening.’