A Mexborough grandfather’s desperation to be at the side of his wife following a triple organ transplant has left him penniless.
Devoted husband Michael Wood has kept a vigil at the bedside of his wife Moira who a had a bowel liver and pancreas transplant in a Cambridge hospital last week.
This week Michael thanked the South Yorkshire Times for helping him negotiate a way through a financial nightmare after he said bureaucracy prevented the couple from organising her Personal Care Plan.
Moira was comfortable in Cambridge’s Addenbrookes Hospital this week after she survived the operation which has caused her family so much heartache.
Michael said: “All I care about is Moira and she will need me by her side to help her through this for at least nine months. But my love for my wife has left me penniless.
“I am in hospital accommodation which is costing me £25 a night and I just can’t afford it. Her sickness pay from work has run out. We have paid into the system all our lives and in our hour of need it just seemed nobody was bothered.”
Father of three Michael, 54 hit out at bureaucracy from the healthcare agency ATOS which he says has made it virtually impossible for the couple to get financial support.
The couple, of Stentons Terrace, have been trying to organise a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for Moira which would help with the costs of staying in Cambridge and enable Michael to apply for carer’s benefits to help her through.
Electronics engineer Moira, 50, was told she had to be at home to be assessed for her PIP payments - but that was when she was still in an intensive care ward.
Michael said: “This has been a nightmare - we haven’t got any money, it is just dribbling away. ATOS have put us in an impossible position - how can she be at home for her assessment when she has just had a life threatening operation?”
The couple’s nightmare began when Moira began having stomach pains in May.
Doctors eventually found a clot in her bowel in July. At this point the couple applied for a PIP giving the relevant information but Michael said ATOS lost the forms. Moira’s condition worsened and she had an operation to bypass part of her bowel at a London hospital. She was transferred to Addenbrookes after a clot destroyed most of her liver, where she was put on the transplant list.
Despite repeated calls to ATOS involving the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Michael said they still insisted a home visit was required before they could get a PIP.
But on Tuesday the couple were contacted by the agency after The South Yorkshire Times asked ATOS to explain their position. Michael said: “Thank you for helping us out and putting pressure on them. Hopefully things will come good and work out for us now. This kind of thing can’t be allowed to happen. There are people who take the Mickey out of the system but Moira didn’t and we have had to go through all this.”
An ATOS Healthcare spokesman would not comment on individual cases but added: “Where possible we will send the Department for Work and Pensions advice on a PIP claim based solely on information supplied by the customer and further medical evidence provided by their treating health professional. If we do not have enough medical information we will need to see someone face to face either at one of our centres or at their home.”
She added: “If the DWP find someone eligible for PIP they will have their benefit backdated to the date of application.”