Terry Hickson never expected it to end this way, seeing his newborn son just one time before having to say goodbye to his family.
In a cruel twist of fate, this is exactly what happened.
The late Terry Hickson, 44, of Liverpool was already dying when his wife Louise, 32, went into labor just down the corridor from his hospital room.
Hospital staff had roused him from sedation to meet his son Xander for the first time, not realizing it would also be his last.
Louise describes the meeting as bittersweet, saying:
“They woke Terry from sedation and he smiled when I walked in holding the baby. But as I sat next to him, he grabbed my arm and shouted at me to get out."
A couple of days after she had taken her son home, the hospital called to tell her that her husband had started going downhill. She never made it back to see him alive one last time.
When doctors told Louise that Terry had suffered a heart attack and could not be revived, she was devastated and in shock.
Terry had been complaining about stomach and back pains in the days leading up to his death. The hospital conducted x-rays that suggested kidney stones as the culprit.
The real problem was an incarcerated hernia that had burst through his stomach cavity and bowel. It had ended up in his chest where it caused fluid to accumulate on his lungs and he needed emergency surgery.
By the time Louise went in for the planned caesarian, Terry was unconscious in the ICU, hooked up to machines. He was slowly being suffocated.
Not recognizing Terry as a risk for deep vein thrombosis, he had spent thirteen days in the hospital without blood thinners before being killed by an 8-inch blood clot that traveled from his left leg to his heart.
Five years later, she has finally been awarded damages from Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside for what is considered to be a hospital bungle.
The NHS admitted that they failed in Terry's case and Louise received £140,000 in compensation, but the money will not bring her husband back.
“Our lives have been shattered by the hospital’s fatal mistakes. My son has been left without a father, I have been left without my beloved husband. This is not about the money. No amount of money will ever bring Terry back to us.”
Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust finally accepted the blame for Terry's death and offered their sincere condolences to the family.
“We would like to express our sincere condolences to Mr Hickson’s family. We are extremely sorry for their loss. Regrettably errors were made back in 2012 and our care fell below our usual high standards. We have learned from this incident and have since strengthened our approach to patient safety and quality.”
While their admission of negligence has given Louise peace of mind, it has done nothing for her emotional health and she continues suffering from depression.
Another family who has to get through insurmountable loss are the Wards. Their son Blake was enjoying a summer day at the beach when he was swept out to sea by a riptide.
By the time he was pulled out of the water, he had suffered irreversible brain damage. His parents were forced to make the agonizing decision to turn off his life support.
It's impossible to guess the pain suffered by either the Hicksons' or the Wards', but tragedies like these remind us that life is short and time with loved ones is never guaranteed.
February 22, 2019