Balram Patel, who suffered from several life-threatening conditions, passed away last month at a London hospital aged 30. His grieving family have since been campaigning for the rights of patients and have set up a new charity foundation – Patients Lives Matter.
The mission is to lobby Parliament and effect change in creating an independent body to investigate complaints against the National Health Service (NHS) staff and affiliated bodies. The right of families to seek a second medical opinion, currently being campaigned for as “Martha’s Rule” by a mother who lost her 13-year-old daughter Martha two years ago, is among the other aims of the foundation.
Balram’s father Jay Patel said: “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.
“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 believes the UK government is taking steps “after the event” to see what went wrong with patient care and laments the totally inadequate steps currently available to rectify the lack of proper treatment when these failures are actually taking place.
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“Simple steps, a swift fairly straight forward second opinion on treatment in one,” he said.
In a eulogy to his late son, the bereaved father recalls the many lives he touched with his smiling and warm nature. Balram loved bhajans and recited the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ with his beloved Ram Bapa every birthday until Covid hit.
“Pujya Ram Bapa used to say when Balram would come to the Hanuman Chalisa.
‘Balram beta tari vagar andharu che’ (Balram without you at the Hanuman Chalisa, there's darkness). That's what we are experiencing now,” shared his father.
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The purpose of Patients Lives Matter is to support other parents and those helping and/or caring for a loved one to navigate the wilderness of patients’ rights, especially when they feel they are not getting anywhere.
*Info: Patients Lives Matter