UK: Indian-origin man campaigns for patients' rights after son's death

A London man, who lost his 30-year-old son due to medical errors, has started a charity called Patients Lives Matter to advocate for patient rights.

Representational image of a doctor and a patient. (Photo by Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
Representational image of a doctor and a patient. (Photo by Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)


An Indian-origin man from London who lost his son due to what he terms as a “cascade of errors” by medics has launched a new charity foundation to campaign for the rights of patients.

Jay Patel registered Patients Lives Matter earlier this month after his 30-year-old son, Balram, died due to "failures" in treatment and care from a hospital in London. The coroner’s office has since told him that it is opening an investigation into the conditions leading up to Balram's death last month.

"Balram died in a huge amount of pain, and discomfort, and before his time, due to a cascade of errors and failures in treatment and care from the hospital consultant and a number of staff," said his father in a mission statement for the new foundation.

“We feel very strongly that the government is taking steps ‘after the event’ so as to speak to see what went wrong with patient care and/or patient treatment. However, totally inadequate steps are available at the time of the incident to rectify the failure and ensure little or no harm comes to the patient. Whether you are the patient, a parent, a family member, a friend or none of the above we want to hear from you,” he said.

Patel said he wants to lobby Parliament and get them to listen and effect a change. His son suffered from six life threatening conditions and was “developmentally delayed” with a mental age of eight to 10 years old.

“He was our baby. He was happiness personified, loved life to the fullest and made everyone he came in contact with happy, as well as those that didn’t even meet him but just heard his voice or knew about him,” said Jay Patel.

“We are deeply saddened for the loss of our Balram but we are mortified that he passed in a huge amount of unnecessary pain, before his time and this was due to the lack of care, inappropriate medical treatment, and delay in appropriate treatment. A coroner's investigation has now been opened and the coroner is investigating the delays in Balram's treatment and the treatment itself,” he said.

Through Patients Lives Matter, he is campaigning for simple steps towards a swift and straightforward second opinion on treatment plans, with an independent body governing this process.

It comes as a wider campaign for so-called “Martha’s Rule” for an independent means of getting a second medical opinion has been underway by the mother of 13-year-old Martha, who died in hospital from sepsis in 2021. The UK government has backed this call, with UK Health Secretary Steve Barclay saying he is “committed to it”.

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