Grieving Leeds family slam hospital over insensitive death text

John and Patricia Wood, from Garforth, with a picture of their late son Darren. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
John and Patricia Wood, from Garforth, with a picture of their late son Darren. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
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A distraught Leeds couple were sent a text message asking them to rate their son’s experience in A&E two days after he died from a stroke aged just 42.

John Wood, who lives in Garforth, claims the message could have “tipped someone over the edge” and has complained in a bid to make sure it never happens again.

“If someone was feeling depressed it could have been the end of them. It shouldn’t happen.”

The 71-year-old father-of-two was sorting through belongings after the premature loss of his son Darren when Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTH) sent the message to the deceased pipe fitter’s phone earlier this month.

Darren, who also lived in Garforth, collapsed at home on February 3 before being rushed to Leeds St James’s Hospital where he died that night.

LTH has since apologised and is investigating the error.

Retired John, who has been coming to terms with the loss with the help of his wife Patricia, saw his son the day before he died. He said: “It’s been a difficult time but we are together so it’s easier when there’s two of us. If somebody didn’t have that support then and was feeling depressed it [the message] could have been the end of them. It’s something that really shouldn’t happen.”

Darren, who lived in a shared house, collapsed at home while talking to a housemate.

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The 42-year-old, who suffered from high blood pressure and was on medication, had coincidentally been working at the hospital in late January but was laid off from his job days before he died. His funeral took place at Rawdon Crematorium last week.

Darren’s untimely death has had a big impact on his parents as well as his sister, who has two children of her own.

John, who was complimentary of the care Darren received at the hospital, said: “He was a big, strong lad.

“Everybody that knew him liked him, he would help anybody. He wasn’t a material person – he just wanted enough to live on and get by.”

An LTH spokesman said that it is still looking into how the text went out in such circumstances and has apologised to the family. Such messages are sent out to A&E users as part of the Friends and Family Test to gain feedback on services.

He said: “We are extremely sorry for the added distress this text message caused the Wood family following their tragic bereavement.”

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