‘We will not stand by and let him die’

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THE distraught family of a patient who has been refused life-saving heart surgery say they “will not stand by and let him die.”

John Luczynski, from South Shore, has been denied the chance of survival because the procedure – a transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) – is not routinely funded in the North West.

The 84-year-old’s family will now appeal the decision made by Blackpool NHS special patient panel.

They say if they get knocked back again they will be forced to raise the cash themselves – at a cost of £25,000.

Mr Luczynski’s grand-daughter, Shirley Banks, a nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, said: “We are so disappointed. Granddad is sickened and grandma is so upset. They didn’t give a reason why they said no.

“It’s crazy, the expertise is there, it’s life-saving. We are going to appeal.

“If he’s turned down again we are not going to stand by and let him die. We will have to find the money.”

Mr Luczynski, who also needs an operation on a malignant bowel tumour, has now spent three months in Blackpool Victoria Hospital waiting to see if he will be able to have TAVI.

Doctors can only operate on the tumour once the grandfather-of-ten has had the heart procedure.

They say he will die within 12 months without the treatment.

The Gazette has previously reported how Bill Nickson, 90, from Normoss, died while waiting for TAVI in November.

Consultant Cardiologist Dr David Roberts, from Lancashire Cardiac Centre in Blackpool, said: “It’s terrible.

“We, as clinicians, want to do the best for patients but we have got hard-nosed bureaucracy controlling this.”

The North West Specialised Commissioning Group (NWSCG), which advises PCT boards on “how best to invest public money”, has told cardiac centres it does not routinely fund TAVI, despite it being available in other regions.

Medical director at NHS Blackpool Dr Amanda Doyle said: “The specialised commissioning team recognise advances in cardiac technology are very important, they are expecting it to be funded at some stage in the future.

“These discussions are quite complex. We don’t commission based on age and it’s not just about funding – it’s about the patients’ general health and the benefits of the procedure.”