Cancer sufferer forced to delay chemotherapy due to council intransigence

Time and time again the Enquirer is approached by a borough resident who is being screwed over by Tower Hamlets Council.

Screwed over is a blunt but accurate description.

Computer says no

The default stance of Tower Hamlets Council towards anyone who makes a request for a service that they believe they are legally entitled to is “No”.

Those who might owe the council money due to a genuine mistake on their part are deemed to be fraudsters and are treated as such.

But then given the behaviour of some of the elected representatives of the borough this negative attitude is perhaps explainable if not excusable.

Today’s example of this is quite simple to explain.

Full disclosure: The gentleman mentioned below is known to Mark Baynes, publisher and tea maker at the East End Enquirer as we both live in the same place.

Let’s call this man Mr K.

Mr K has recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and superior mesenteric artery thrombosis.

The pancreas (a gland that sits behind your stomach) produces enzymes that help digestion and hormones that help regulate the way your body processes sugar (glucose), and how serious pancreatic cancer is varies from patient to patient.

Superior mesenteric artery thrombosis is a severe and potentially fatal illness involving the main artery to the small intestine and colon.

Neither are good, both together is about as rough as it gets.

Mr K is lucky to have two daughters who live in Tower Hamlets (where Mr K has been resident for some 30 years) who can care for him, but not when he is living in a hostel for homeless single men.

Although the hostel is extremely well run the rooms are very small and in now way suitable for a person suffering from a serious illness to be cared for.

I can attest from my own personal experience of trying to nurse a friend with lung cancer in the hostel that it is impossible to do.

Delaying course of chemotherapy

Mr K is delaying a course of chemotherapy until he can resolve this housing issue with the council and move.

Below you can see an extract from a letter that was sent to Tower Hamlets Council on behalf of Mr K by his doctor asking that he be provided more suitable accommodation than his current situation.

To quote the doctor: “This is an inappropriate setting for him whilst he undergoes treatment for this serious and invasive cancer.”

Letter from Mr K’s doctor.

And below you can see an extract from the letter from Tower Hamlets Council refusing to help Mr K.

Extract from LBTH to Mr K

Nice huh?

Last time we checked the medical qualifications of our editorial team are non-existent but, like most people, we do have common sense.

Below is an extract from the same letter from Tower Hamlets Council (we have a copy) from the doctor paid by the council to examine Mr K.

Extract from LBTH to Mr K

In this letter the doctor says “The applicant has a history of diabetes. I note he was admitted to hospital in September 2020 with abdominal pain and told he may have pancreatic cancer how this has not been confirmed. He is not being treated with chemo or radiatherapy [sic] and at present there is no evidence of a permanent disability or severe long-term limiting illness in this case and hence no priority applies.”

We do not know what is more serious than suffering from pancreatic cancer and superior mesenteric artery thrombosis at the same time but it must be very bad indeed.

We do know that Mr K can best be looked after by his daughters in more suitable accommodation, not where he lives at the moment.

“I feel I have been mistreated and not heard, nobody is listening, the first doctor did not do a basic check on me,” says Mr. K. “She is from south-east London and my own doctor does not know this doctor is. I feel I am in a dead end and I do not know what to do.”

As the clock ticks for Mr K you can make your own judgement as to whether he is being treated fairly by Tower Hamlets Council.

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As community journalists we do exactly what it says on our tin – we work for the community.

In Tower Hamlets, which covers most of London’s East End, that means we spend a lot of time investigating allegations of political corruption.

It is an unfortunate fact that the poorest local authority in the country is still beset by the highest levels of corruption.

As Love Wapping we were instrumental in exposing the electoral corruption of Mayor Lutfur Rahman.