Care concern after crash death tragedy

THE heartbroken family of a 22-year-old “gentle giant” have demanded answers after criticising the care he received in hospital before his death.James Leeks' mother and girlfriend last night both called for an investigation at Colchester General Hospital - where he died four weeks after a head-on car crash.

THE heartbroken family of a 22-year-old “gentle giant” have demanded answers after criticising the care he received in hospital before his death.

James Leeks' mother and girlfriend last night both called for an investigation at Colchester General Hospital - where he died four weeks after a head-on car crash.

The grieving pair claimed doctors failed to initially recognise a collapsed lung, and that medical staff had to read instruction manuals before using a dialysis machine.

And the eventual cause of his death - adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), where fluid builds up in the lungs - was initially described as a “setback”, they alleged.


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The pair last night made an emotional tribute to Mr Leeks, from Newton Green, near Sudbury, describing him as “a caring family man”.

Judy Leeks said: “We want answers as all the time James was in hospital, we just seemed to get conflicting information.

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“We put our faith in the hospital. We now just hope the coroner's office will get the truth.”

She added: “We thought he was going to theatre but then we were told there was something was wrong with his lungs and that his right lung had collapsed. We were all baffled this wasn't picked up before.”

His girlfriend Karmel Doughty added: “We are very disappointed with the treatment he received. It was never made clear to us how life-threatening ARDS was.

“It is hard enough seeing the man we love in hospital.”

Mr Leeks died in hospital four weeks after a head-on collision on the A134, close to his home.

One of five children, Mr Leeks, who worked as a photographer for Auto Trader car magazine, was described as a “tennis prodigy” at just ten years old after winning a regional short tennis championship.

“He was a gentle giant, caring and funny and his family was so important to him,” his mother said. “

Miss Doughty, 19, who lives in Sudbury, described Mr Leeks as her “soulmate and love of my life”.

She added: “Never had I imagined living without you and words cannot describe the pain I feel at losing you,

“You changed my whole world and touched the hearts of everyone who knew you.”

A hospital spokesman said last night: “We are sorry to hear that the family feel they have cause for complaint.

“We would really like them to get in contact with us so we can look into this further. “We will, of course, assist the coroner as he carries out his investigations. However, our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”

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