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Patient to sue BHB for negligence

Four visits: Raymond Santucci after surgery at a British hospital (Photograph supplied)

A 60-year-old man is suing the Bermuda Hospitals Board for medical negligence after claiming that emergency room staff repeatedly failed to spot a life-threatening illness.Raymond Santucci said staff at a private clinic, Bermuda Healthcare Services, as well as a British hospital were “astounded” that his heart disease and ligament damage had been diagnosed four times as pneumonia.Mr Santucci said the “ordeal” had put his wife and family through “suffering, grief and expense, because I placed my faith in those who I thought were professional but who were, in fact, negligent”.A BHB spokeswoman said on Friday: “It is always regrettable when patients are not satisfied with our findings related to their concerns.“As these are personal medical details, we are unable to speak to them publicly.”Mr Santucci said Mahesh Reddy, the medical director at Bermuda Healthcare Services, would not allow him to drive home after discovering his arm and shoulder injuries last spring.Doctors at The Priory Hospital in Birmingham, England, “could not believe I had flown there without having a massive heart attack or stroke” when they saw the extent of his blocked arteries.The former security guard had gone to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in November and December 2018, and January and February 2019, complaining of pain in his chest and right shoulder.Mr Santucci, from Warwick, said: “If it was a one-off thing, I’d understand — but going several times and not getting this addressed is dangerous.”After the four hospital visits, which included an X-ray and a CT scan, his doctor sent him to Bermuda Healthcare Services in Paget.There, he said an MRI found “a damaged right shoulder cuff, two torn ligaments in my right arm, and a damaged muscle in my right arm”.“They sat me down and said I had a major problem, that I had been misdiagnosed and they couldn’t allow me to drive from there,” he said.Mr Santucci flew to the hospital in England in April 2018 for surgery and ended up staying there for almost four months.He said: “The doctors couldn’t believe I had flown there.“I had a main artery blocked 90 per cent, another blocked 70 per cent and a third blocked 35 per cent.”After surgery on his right arm, Mr Santucci got two stents implanted to bypass his blocked blood vessels.A former smoker, Mr Santucci had to drastically change his diet and lifestyle.His home clinic, Hope Healthcare in Pembroke, certified in December that his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and coronary heart disease would “likely” have killed him within five years if untreated.Last week, Mr Santucci said: “If it wasn’t for these people, I wouldn’t be here. I thank God for taking me over to England and bringing me back months later, safe.”He went back to hospital in England on Thursday for a review and has taken on lawyer Bruce Swan to start a law suit against BHB for medical negligence.Mr Swan confirmed the suit on Friday.Mr Santucci said his lengthy spell in the hospital overseas caused him “anxiety and grief” over the separation from his wife and family.The treatment hit his finances and he has been unable to work for at least six months.Mr Santucci thanked staff at his job, Security Associates, for pushing him to seek treatment — as well as Colonial Insurance and Bermuda Healthcare Services.“Something has got to be done,” he said. “It’s not the hospital; it’s the employees of the hospital.”• On occasion The Royal Gazette may decide to not allow comments on what we consider to be a controversial or contentious story. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.