Mother threatened to stage a protest for DGH operation

Claire Bowers refused to leave her hospital bed at the DGH until she was given a date for her kidney operation.
Claire Bowers refused to leave her hospital bed at the DGH until she was given a date for her kidney operation.

A mother will be given the kidney operation she desperately needs this month, but only after threatening to stage a protest at the Eastbourne DGH.

Claire Bowers was told she would have to wait six weeks for necessary treatment on her one remaining kidney, despite a surgeon at the hospital offering to clear his schedule and operate earlier this week.

After already having one kidney removed, Claire and her husband, Jake, were unwilling to let the mum-of-three risk losing the other, and potentially her life, by being discharged and placed on a waiting list with no definite date for her return.

Instead, Claire refused to leave her hospital bed until a date was set and had groups of family and friends ready and willing to come and protest by her bedside on Saturday.

In response, the hospital has now given Claire a date for her operation – November, 23 – in almost a quarter of the waiting time they initially gave.

Mr Bowers said, “We had coach-loads of people ready to come down to Eastbourne and it’s only through the pressure we put on the hospital that Claire’s now been given a date, which is really good.

“We’ve stopped the protests out of respect for the fact the hospital has now given us a date.

“However, my wife still feels pretty appalled about the way she was treated.

“A medical condition like hers, I believe, should be dealt with straight away. She should not be left with just a drain and a risk of serious infection on what is a vital organ.

“One surgeon agreed she needed surgery urgently and offered to do it earlier this week but the hospital wouldn’t allow it.

“I faced losing my wife and our three kids faced losing their mum. There will be people out there who may not have enough support or any fight left in them to put up a protest.

“Our NHS is clearly in financial trouble and can’t supply the medical resources its patients needs. It’s bad news.”

Claire, 42, was admitted to hospital last week needing a laparoscopic reconstruction – a medical procedure that aims to improve the drainage of the kidney. For Claire, this is essential as she relies on only one kidney and becomes vulnerable to infection if it’s not as efficient as possible.

A spokesperson at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said, “Mrs Bowers has received appropriate treatment for her condition, she has been told by her consultant that her condition is not an emergency and she has been given a date for an operation.”

Mrs Bowers has now returned to her home where she is said to be ‘building up strength’ ready for her operation next week.