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Wednesday, 1 March, 2000, 16:15 GMT
'Surgery a year too late'
BRI
Man died before operation was offered at Bristol Royal Infirmary
A man was offered an appointment for heart by-pass surgery a year after he had died.

When Brian Booy died of a heart attack in January 1999 he had been waiting for triple heart by-pass surgery for 18 months.

Days before the first anniversary of his death, his widow Pat received a letter from Bristol Royal Infirmary's cardiac unit saying that her husband could have the operation this Friday.

The revelation comes days after the cardiac unit's clinical director Dr Peter Wilde said 10 patients may have died because they had to wait too long for operations.

Angry scene

Mrs Booy, 60, of Little Stoke, Bristol, said: "It was a bit of an angry scene. I thought, `Surely they must know', and my son was very angry and phoned the hospital."

She said the couple's lives had been put on hold while Mr Booy, who was 60 when he died, waited for the operation.

They did not dare to go on holiday in case there was a cancellation and he was able to have his operation early.

Mrs Booy said: "We were frightened to go out or go on holiday in case the phone rang and we missed it. He was looking forward to the life he was going to lead after the operation.

"He was going to do decorating, things we take for granted. We really didn't think the waiting list was going to be that long, we thought a couple of months."

A spokeswoman for the hospital said: "We offer our sincere condolences to Mrs Booy and we regret that she received the letter.

"At present the hospital does not have a way of knowing if a patient has died unless we are informed by a GP."

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