A DUNFERMLINE man who believes mistakes made by NHS Fife staff led to the death of his wife has threatened legal action over the case.

Hiram Dunn, 73, has been pursuing a complaint against the health board which was initiated by his wife, Linda Dunn, before she died in May last year.

In February he took the issue to Holyrood with a group of Fife families who are pressing for answers over the treatment of their loved ones at Victoria Hospital.

He previously raised the issue in the Press, though wished to remain anonymous at that time, after he had waited more than 80 days for a response to his official complaint with NHS Fife.

Hiram says that legal action and a police report may be his last option after receiving unsatisfactory responses from the health board after a recent letter from chief executive Carol Potter stated that the case has been concluded by NHS Fife.

But the armed forces veteran is still fighting for answers over the care his late wife, who was suffering from terminal lung cancer, received during an a visit to the hospital on May 18, nine days before her death on May 27.

Linda had recorded a complaint on May 20, outlining that on the day of her appointment she was to undergo a procedure to insert a stent into her superior vena cava vein to help with oedema.

She wrote that, on arrival shortly after 8am, as had been previously arranged, she and her husband waited more than two hours for a bed to become available, with nurses saying that one had not been guaranteed and that COVID tests would need to be carried out.

Linda detailed how she had been left in "great discomfort" and that her arms were leaking water because of the oedema.

Hiram later had to help her into the bed provided with no help from nursing staff and his wife was given tea and biscuits, though she would receive no more food over the course of her 13-hour visit.

There was also an issue where a nurse attempted to insert a cannula but could not locate a vein, resulting in multiple puncture wounds.

After the stent procedure Linda said she was "completely ignored" in the ward, did not receive any water, and was unable to take her steroid medication on time.

She discharged herself from the hospital, having relayed her disappointment in her experience to both a doctor and senior charge nurse, and returned home with Hiram and their daughter.

Over the course of the next few days, Hiram outlined how Linda's arm, where the cannula had been inserted, had swollen and become painful.

On May 21 a GP attended the couple's home and assessed that Linda had suffered stroke during the night and, Hiram claims, stated that this may have been due to irregular timings of steroid medication.

She was then under the care of the Fife palliative outreach team, district nurses, council carers, Marie Curie nurses, and a doctor until the time of her death.

Hiram wrote: "I firmly believe without a shadow of a doubt that the treatment or realistically, the lack of it, was for the most part a factor in the early death of my wife."

He then received letters in June, July, and August apologising that a response to the detailed complaint had been delayed, before finally receiving a letter from Margo McGurk, deputy chief executive, in September.

Hiram then attended a meeting with NHS staff members and officials in November.

However, questions remain over Linda's treatment, with Hiram claiming that serious issues were ignored in order to forego a more detailed response and a requirement to "recognise and admit that there were possible malpractices bordering on criminality".

He wrote in a response to Ms Potter's final letter that he wanted to to know why "this catalogue, of what can only be described as failed obligations in their (NHS Fife staff) duties as healthcare professionals, were allowed to happen unchecked".

NHS Fife confirmed that it is unable to comment on matters relating to the care of individual patients.

Director of Nursing, Janette Keenan, said: "We always try to respond to complaints as quickly as possible.

"It is vital that any responses we provide are detailed and accurate, and to do so means thoroughly investigating any concerns raised.

"This requires the assistance of the relevant nursing, medical and other clinical staff involved, often across multiple services and this can take time, particularly in more complex cases.

"We have, however, taken actions to streamline our complaints handling processes to help us respond to complaints more quickly.

"This has led to a steady reduction in complaint waiting times since June 2022.

"While, of course, we want every patient to receive the best care possible, where we do receive any complaints these are used to help us shape and continually improve the healthcare services we provide."