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Thursday, 26 July, 2001, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
Bed blocking blamed for man's death
Sharon Barnett and Delroy Josephs
Sharon Barnett says her husband could have survived
A lack of intensive care beds in a Birmingham hospital could have resulted in the death of a seriously injured man, his widow has claimed.

Delroy Josephs' widow says he died without being given the chance of life-saving brain surgery.

But the hospital involved, the Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham, said that if an operation could have helped, it would have been carried out.


He needed treatment and could not have it and I think it is disgusting

Sharon Barnett

Mr Josephs was taken to City Hospital on the evening of 9 June suffering from head injuries after an incident in Birmingham street.

The 35-year-old's widow Sharon Barnett claims he was not transferred to the specialist Queen Elizabeth hospital for emergency surgery because of a lack of intensive care beds.

Ms Barnett claims that her husband might still be alive if he had received the emergency surgery he needed.

She said she was told he needed urgent surgery and the nearest specialist hospital was the city's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

'Had Hope'

But she said she was told that no intensive care beds were available.

Ms Barnett said: "When I first got to the hospital, the first couple of hours I was there, there was no indication to me that he was dying.

"I still had hope and always had hope.

Delroy Josephs
Delroy Josephs had head injuries

"The consultant looking after him explained Delroy had a head injury but did not know the extent because the hospital did not specialise in head injuries.

"He told me that Delroy needed to be transferred to the Queen Elizabeth but when they were contacted, they said they didn't have any beds."

She added: "He needed treatment and could not have it and I think it is disgusting.

"When you go to hospital for emergency treatment you expect to get it. You don't expect to be told you can't have treatment."

A spokeswoman for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital dismissed allegations that bed blocking was to blame.

She said that if surgery could have helped, doctors would have transferred Mr Joseph anyway and an intensive care bed would have been found during the operation.

But Ms Barnett said her husband might have survived if the operation could have been performed: "I think that Delroy deserved that chance."

She is now discussing the possibility of legal action.

West Midlands Police is investigating the incident which led to Mr Joseph's injury.

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See also:

15 Jun 01 | Health
Care crisis blocks beds
17 Jan 00 | NHS in crisis
The beds debate
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