09:46AM, Thursday 29 October 2020
An 84-year-old man is desperate to be reunited with his wife of 60 years because he says they ‘can’t have that many months left’.
Marlow resident Keith Amos, 84, has been separated from the love of his life, Barbara, since May 2018 when she went into A&E at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury.
Barbara,79, went to hospital upon her GP’s instruction following a recurring rectal prolapse resulting from a diagnosis of rectum cancer.
Her treatment for the disease in 2012 caused severe brain damage and the need for a stoma bag. Since then Keith had always cared for Barbara at home with the assistance of carers.
Initially Keith thought his wife would be sent home from Stoke Mandeville after treatment, but weeks went by and he said he ‘couldn’t get any information whatsoever from anybody’ as to why she had not been discharged.
In July 2018, after a two-month inpatient stay, Barbara was discharged into Mallard House Neurological Care Centre in Milton Keynes – 60 miles from their home in Marlow.
Keith said: “Unbeknown to me and without my permission this discharge department had applied the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) to Barbara.”
The NHS website states that the MCA is ‘designed to protect and empower people who may lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care and treatment’.
It also says that if someone lacks the capacity to make a decision, any decision made for them must be in their best interests and it is ‘vital’ to consult with anyone engaged in caring for the individual where possible.
Keith says he was kept in the dark about Barbara’s care and does not believe the Mental Capacity Act should have been applied.
“I have the responsibility and duty to obtain and provide the best care for Barbara,” he said. “With humanity and compassion, for someone I have cherished.”
Ever since he and his wife’s ‘marriage was split’ Keith has been fighting for them to be reunited.
After sending letters of complaint to Buckinghamshire Council (BC), Keith said he was told to file for a Court of Protection order.
The order was subsequently heard through four separate hearings.
Although Keith was hopeful at one point that a judge was to rule the pair could be admitted together to Sir Aubrey Ward House in Pospect Ward, Marlow, this was not to be.
Following a curtailed fourth hearing the judge ruled in favour of Buckinghamshire CCG’s recommendation of placing Barbara in Apple Hill care home in Henley Road, Hurley - where she is now.
Two and a half years of trying in vain to be reunited with his wife on a full-time basis has taken its toll on Keith. He said: “Every day I’m in tears and I’ve been unwell and I’m on my own, we had no family.”
Barbara’s health has declined in this time too, but Keith believes Barbara can come home, with the caveat she has 24-hour care.
But he says the next best thing would be warden-controlled accommodation for the two of them – as long as they are together.
“She’s so unhappy, and we can’t have that many months left between us,” said Keith.
“Something like that would be most appropriate for Barbara and myself just to finish off our lives.”
Keith said he has contacted the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s (LGO) to look into the medical care Barbara has received under Buckinghamshire CCG and BC but he said he was told ‘they couldn’t hear it’ because ‘the case had been going on for one year’.
Keith said he feels ‘totally abandoned’ and that sharing his story with the Advertiser is his ‘last desperate plea for help’.
Angela Macpherson, cabinet member for adult social care at Buckinghamshire Council said: “We are unable to comment publicly on individual cases. However, when providing care for vulnerable adults our starting point is, wherever possible, to support them to remain as independent as possible and living in their own homes among family and friends.
“When this is not possible we work with the families to ensure their care and support needs are met in the best way possible.
“Care decisions are reviewed regularly to ensure they are still meeting the persons needs and we will always seek to consider the views of the individual, their partners and family members in this process.
“We will try our best to make sure everyone’s needs are considered. However, any decision would be based on what is in best interests of the vulnerable person.
“Sometimes what is in the vulnerable person’s best interests may not be what family and friends would prefer.
“We are always open to listening to family members and would encourage them to contact us if they have any concerns or if their circumstances change.”
A spokesperson for the Local Government Ombudsman said: “We are conscious that every case brought to us is the story of real people whose lives are affected by the situation they have experienced. That’s why we look at the unique circumstances of each case.
“There are certain situations where the laws we operate under mean we may not be able to investigate a complaint.”
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