A father in need of several amputations as a result of a life-threatening disease became stranded in Spain after being told that a hospital in England equipped to treat him was full.
Matthew Parkes, 38, was on a vacation in Majorca, Spain, with his wife and daughter when he began experiencing a sore throat, according to the Manchester Evening News. He then developed pneumonia, organ failure and septic shock and was placed in a medically-induced coma at a nearby hospital. Medication used to treat Parkes affected his circulation, and now he needs to have a hand and both feet amputated.
Following these illnesses, Parkes was diagnosed with Castleman Disease, a rare lymph node condition that explained why Parkes couldn't fight off his sore throat. Castleman Disease affects the body similarly to cancer, and Parkes now suffers from tumors on his collar bone, chest, spine and pancreas. Wythenshawe Hospital — a facility in his home country of England — is equipped to help fight the disease, but it was reportedly forced to put Parkes on a waiting list for the ICU due to a lack of beds.
“I’m devastated. Your husband is in amazing health, has never been in a hospital, and then all of a sudden you think your husband is going to die,” Pamela Parkes, Matthew's wife, told the M.E.N.
“Last time he was awake he said he loved me and he thought he just had pneumonia - if he wakes up the best case scenario is he’s told he is going to be disabled for the rest of his life," she added. "The worst case is that he doesn’t have long left. I can’t live without him.”
“We just need to get him home, Wythenshawe need to find him a bed so he can be treated at home where his family is,” she said.
“We are ready to push him in a wheelchair, we are ready to help him feed, we are not bothered because we love him. But he needs chemotherapy, he needs these amputations," she continued.
Matthew’s wife ultimately returned to England to be with her children, though her husband is still stranded in Spain. Matthew's insurance reportedly has an air ambulance on stand-by for when a bed opens up at the Wythenshawe Hospital.
“We can deal with it if he’s here with us, he’s on his own now,” she said.
Dr. John Crampton, director of the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, responded to the issues surrounding Parkes’ care.
“We recognize that this must be an incredibly distressing time for the patient’s family and our teams are doing everything they possibly can to ensure this patient is brought to UHSM as quickly as possible. We are aware of this patient’s situation and this is under constant review,” he said.
“Currently, our critical care beds are at full capacity due to the severity and complexity of the patients we are currently caring for; this capacity is frequently reviewed throughout each day," he added. "As with any patient who requires our specialist expertise and care, we are doing our very best to ensure we can accommodate them as soon as we are able to and when it is safe to do so. We are liaising closely with the team who would oversee the safe transfer of a patient to our hospital.”
Photo credit: manchestereveningnews.co.uk