Orson Morris was just 12 years old when father Phil, 48, died in December 2021 after gastric sleeve surgery. He was given just minutes to say goodbye as the hospital had already called the undertakers
The young son of a man who died due to blunders by a private hospital says staff gave him just minutes for a last goodbye as they had already called the undertakers.
Orson Morris was just 12 years old when father Phil, 48, died in December 2021 after gastric sleeve surgery.
Staff called Phil’s wife Dana at 2am to tell her, giving her a one-hour window to see him before his body was taken away. Dana woke Orson to tell him before they scrambled to St Anthony’s Hospital, owned by private health provider Spire.
Orson, now 14, who had permission from his mum to speak to the Mirror, said: “I will never forgive them for the way they treated my dad in their care, and ruined my final goodbye with him.
“I’ll never get that back and that hurts so much. Not only did we only get minutes with him instead of hours, but they demanded we go at 2am and see the body or we’d be too late. When we got there, staff kept coming in saying, ‘They’re coming’, referring to the funeral directors they had called without consulting us.
“It was like we were on a countdown or on a conveyor belt. I started singing a song I’d been learning at school to dad, which I knew he would have loved. Staff kept coming in and I kept having to stop. I would say, ‘Please, give me some time alone’, but they didn’t. In all, I only had about five minutes alone with him. It was heartless and disgracefully thoughtless.”
When the family were ushered out of the room, a stretcher was next to the door with staff from the funeral director, causing them further distress. Last week, a coroner at the inquest into actor and lecturer Phil’s death found he would have survived had vital steps been taken by hospital staff.
Phil went into St Anthony’s in Sutton, Surrey, on December 6, 2021, for the £12,000 gastric sleeve operation due to a backlog in the NHS. The inquest heard Phil was not properly monitored after the surgery, staff failing to take blood tests as requested by his surgeon. He was then allowed to leave intensive care without the oxygen he needed. He died on December 10 from hypoxia – a lack of oxygen.
On Friday, coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe returned a narrative verdict that Phil’s death was avoidable had certain vital steps been taken. His family are now considering legal action against Spire. Last week, we also reported how Spire billed Dana for Phil’s treatment just days after he died.
Orson, who lives with his mum in Epsom, Surrey, said: “It was a catalogue of errors from start to finish with Spire.
“To be given a countdown to say your goodbyes in the middle of the night was horrendous – unforgivable.”
A spokesman for Spire said: “We apologise for the distress and pain Mr Morris’ death has caused. Prior to the inquest, we carried out a thorough review of Mr Morris’ treatment and have taken action to address the learnings we identified. We accept the coroner’s findings and will reflect on what further we can learn from this sad case.”