In 2014, TaintedBlood put out a plea for help for a gentleman with haemophilia who was marooned in a Turkish hospital following a bleed whilst on holiday. With the help of some amazing people and organisations his family were able to bring him home and be reunited with him. Sadly, as many of you will know, he subsequently died. This is Ralph’s story, as told by his daughter, Sarah:
Ralph was born April 20th in 1944, brother to Gordon, and Andre who, like him, was affected by severe haemophilia. He spent much of his early childhood in hospital; early family photo albums have ‘Ralph at home after two weeks in hospital’ written beside them.
Falling out of a tree and breaking his elbow when he was seven years old cancelled the family’s plan to emigrate to Australia. Ralph was to later fall off his beloved motorbike, breaking both arms and shattering both knee caps which saw his slow demise into joint fusion and repetitive bleeds.
Ralph, unlike his brother Andre, disliked and distrusted going to hospital for treatment and his concerns were realised when he was contaminated with Hepatitis C and was told he was also likely treated with vCJD-contaminated blood. Miraculously Ralph naturally cleared the hepatitis, but the damage to his liver and his relationship with the NHS was done! Ralph avoided the hospital at all costs, often spending weeks in agony, only starting to trust the treatments and his haemophilia unit when his grandson, also with the same condition, was born in 2008.
In March 2014 Ralph suffered a near fatal bowel bleed whilst abroad on holiday and was eventually Medivac’d back to the UK. Seemingly set to continue to suffer at the recent failings of the NHS, Ralph was diagnosed with liver cancer (which the doctor told him was a result of the Hepatitis).
Ralph was diagnosed on July 7, and despite being told that the outlook and promise of treatments looked good, he lost his fight a few weeks later.
On 29 August, following after a routine bowel operation and poor post-operative care, we saw Ralph die from peritonitis and multiple organ failure. Ralph left behind his wife, his daughter and two precious grandsons who are still struggling to understand why the hospital didn’t make their granddad better.
Shine brightly, for I look to you for direction in my life each and every day! I miss you so dearly and will love you always. The tears that are streaming down my face are not in vain – there will be an answer for all that you suffered for, it WILL come and I WILL live to see it – that I promise you xxx