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Prisoner’s cancer care criticised

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

The care provided to a prisoner suffering with cancer has been described by a prison watchdog as “one of the worst examples of poor care”. 34-year-old James Colton from Swansea died in August 2013 after months of complaining about severe back pain.  Mr Colton died of malignant melanoma two days after being admitted to the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch as an emergency.

Mr Colton was serving a life sentence for murder at the maximum security prison near Evesham when he fell ill with cancer. Despite frequently complaints, the prison failed to grant him a thorough medical examination. Prisons and probation ombudsman Nigel Newcomen said that the care provided at Long Lartin fell “far below” that in the community.

“It shouldn’t have happened”

It was heard at the inquest in Stourport-on-Severn that Mr Colton’s back pain was diagnosed by a prison GP and physiotherapist as muscular or skeletal. Even though his condition continued to worsen over the next few months, no further examinations of his symptoms were provided.

The acting head of healthcare at the prison, Claire Lees, said that the care provided by the prison was far below the required standard. When the coroner asked why such a case should happen in the 21st century she said: “It shouldn’t have happened. I can’t explain how it happened.

The inquest continues next week.

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