A MAN who lost his wife to a rare form of Alzheimer’s Disease has made an emotional appeal to doctors to do more to tackle the condition.
David Pearson has made it his ambition to fulfil his wife Judy’s wish that her life would not be meaningless by doing all he can to ensure there is better diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
Judy passed away in January aged 57 after a three year struggle with the disease. But it took over a year for her to be diagnosed by doctors. The couple first realised there was a problem in early 2011 when Judy began having trouble with her speech and general tasks such as cooking and using the television remote control.
“It came on quite quickly over a three to four month period and she was initially more concerned about it than I was.” the Worcester resident told a meeting of Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body.
“It seriously affected her self-confidence and she began to avoid situations where she would be alone with people.”
In April of that year they visited their GP and were referred to a neurological consultant at the Worcestershire Royal but it took ten weeks for an appointment.
After undergoing a series of tests in December 2011 they were told there had been a drop in Judy’s brain function but the neurologist referred her back to her GP.
“We felt we were being pushed from pillar to post – the only word I can use is nightmare.” he said.
There were further delays when they referred to a specialist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in June 2012 due to difficulties accessing test results which had been carried out in Worcestershire. However by September of that year it was confirmed Judy had Alzheimer’s.
Over time David became increasingly responsible for Judy’s care and had to watch as she deteriorated in front of him, which took its toll on him emotionally causing him to be signed off work with stress.
He has now left work and is dedicating himself to supporting efforts to improve the diagnosis and treatment of dementia patients.
He told the Standard: “Judy was always worried she would not leave any imprint on the world during her life. I want to make sure she did, and by helping the Alzheimer’s Society, I can do just that. She was my world, and I was unable to protect her from this evil illness.”
The Alzheimer’s Society has been given funding to improve diagnosis and awareness of dementia in Redditch and Bromsgrove and an action plan is being developed.
Chris Emerson, head of commissioning for the CCG, admitted there was a problem with capacity for neurology as Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust currently relied on consultants from outside their organisation to fulfil the service, which was something they were addressing.