Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Trust patient recall: My husband has lost two years of his life after Parkinson's missed

By Mairead Holland

The wife of a Lisburn man whose Parkinson's was allegedly missed by consultant Dr Michael Watt has said she feels her husband lost two years of his life.

Judy Magee said she and husband Jim will never know what damage was caused to his health due to the delay in beginning treatment. 

Jim (49), who began experiencing symptoms in 2011, saw Dr Watt for four appointments in total over two years, beginning in February 2015.

However, he and his wife were so unhappy with his care and treatment that they eventually asked to be referred to another consultant.

Judy said that during her husband's time with Dr Watt he was diagnosed with Parkinson's by another doctor - who was not a specialist in neurology - but that Dr Watt disagreed with the findings.

"On three occasions when we saw Dr Watt he told my husband he didn't have Parkinson's, even though a scan he had requested to rule out Parkinson's confirmed it," she said.

"He also told him he could spot Parkinson's the minute someone walked through his door and that he definitely didn't have it.

"On his final appointment, my husband had to be taken to and from the clinic in a wheelchair, was kept waiting for at least two hours before he was seen, and was then told by Dr Watt that he didn't have Parkinson's.

"He said he could perform an epidural blood patch, a procedure he was having great success with, and that he could cure my husband's illness.

"He then left the consulting room and never came back.

"We could only assume that the appointment was over."

Having done some research on this test, and having lost all confidence in Dr Watt, the couple asked to be referred to another neurologist at the City Hospital.

Judy said: "He confirmed the Parkinson's diagnosis at the first appointment and started Jim on medication. He was fantastic. The difference in Jim is like day and night.

"Yes, he is still debilitated and he will never work again, but he has regained quality of life.

"Before the diagnosis he was only able to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. Now, he can drive, he can go for a short stroll, he can get out and about."

Judy said the anxiety caused by the appointments with Dr Watt was "just awful" and that the physical and mental pain and suffering her husband had to endure was "close to unbearable".

"He came out of the hospital at one point thinking he could be cured, that he could get his life back again," she said.

"He was a successful, well-respected businessman, who started his business at 16, and it was a huge thing for him to have to close it in 2015. I still don't think he has got over it."

"We were very lucky in that we had the other doctor, a general medical consultant, who was extremely concerned about my husband's quality of life and worked tirelessly to get to the root of his health problems," said Judy.

"We went to see Dr Watt as well as we felt Jim should have a Parkinson's specialist/neurologist manage his illness.

"When you go to see someone who is qualified in a particular field you think you are doing the right thing. You put your life in their hands."

The Belfast Health Trust said: "We understand that this is a stressful time and are sorry for the anxiety caused.

"However, we are unable to comment on any individual patient. For anyone who may be worried and is seeking further support, an advice line has been set up.

"The telephone number is 0800 980 1100 and lines will be open weekdays from 9am-9pm and weekends from 9am-5pm."

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