The sister of a man who died after a deterioration following life-changing surgery has accused officials of putting "balance sheets and budgets" ahead of the care needs of her brother. 

Andrew Smith, from Norwich, died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in December 2022, almost two years after he underwent an emergency colostomy following a bowel rupture.

An inquest into his death heard the 55-year-old had struggled after undergoing the procedure.

The former plant and equipment hire centre manager had been placed in an induced coma for two weeks and was told about the surgery when he woke. 

The stoma he was fitted with was considered “unconventional” due to the way the operation had been carried out. He was left with a bag that leaked constantly.

He had been hopeful that a reversible operation or a corrective procedure would take place in the future but this did not happen. 

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk Coroner's CourtNorfolk Coroner's Court (Image: Newsquest)

Speaking to Norfolk Coroner’s Court this week during the inquest into his death, his sister Annie Southgate said: “He was supported at hospital on how to transition and sort hygienically. 

“Unfortunately he did not recent any support to help him to come to terms with his life-changing surgery. 

“He became depressed. Andrew was a very proud, smart man and the thought that the bag could leak when out made him a recluse.

“Andrew seemed to be handling his stoma well initially but he hid his real feelings and drank [alcohol] to cope.  

“He coped with the aftermath of the surgery by drinking excessively.” 

The court heard how Mr Bishop struggled with pain and management of his stoma, prompting a call to his GP. 

He was offered a video call in which the GP kept her mask on for its entirety.  

Mrs Southgate added: “Andrew explained he was drinking too much as he was in pain. Her response was to tell him to stop drinking.

“After the call, Andrew looked at me and said, ‘no one cares’.” 

Mrs Southgate went on to explain how her brother became caught up in a system of needing help but being restricted by red tape.

By August 2022, she contacted adult social services. They carried out an assessment and listed her as her brother’s main carer. 

“When I contacted social services it was because I’d reached the end of my tether," she said.

“I’d been providing personal care for my brother, and he did not want this to continue.  

“He wanted me to be his sister and visit him and chat, not clean the house or him. 

“The care he had in place was not enough.  

“He would often tell me he wanted to die.” 

In the months leading to his death, he continued to struggle with periods of self-neglect and had several hospital admissions. 

He had agreed to go into residential care, but a suitable placement could not be found. 

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk and Norwich HospitalNorfolk and Norwich Hospital (Image: Newsquest)

On December 14, 2022, he fell over at home and was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital where he continued to deteriorate. 

He died there a week later on December 20.

Mrs Southgate added: “In my opinion, for what it is worth, Andrew was failed by the system.

“There seems to be an issue between health and social care over who would pay for his care. 

“While they argued, Andrew suffered.

“I’m not looking to apportion blame. The process and system are to blame. 

“Balance sheets and budgets got in the way of delivering the care my brother deserved.” 

Area coroner Samantha Goward recorded a conclusion of death by "natural causes".

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