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Widow: Someone should say sorry

A woman who was forced to move house after falling into financial hardship when her husband died in Stafford Hospital after being admitted for back pain is calling for criminal charges.

Gillian Peacham, 73, was forced to move into a smaller flat following the death of husband Arthur as she could no longer pay the bills.

Mr Peacham, 68, died on March 19 2006 after almost four months in hospital during which time he contracted the infection C Difficile.

Mrs Peacham, from Penkridge, Staffordshire, says she hopes the latest report includes an apology and an explanation of where the blame lies so that criminal prosecutions can be brought against those responsible.

She said: "I'd like to see someone accountable actually for what happened at Stafford. I would like some answers and I would like someone to just stand up and say 'We're sorry' because nobody's done that yet.

"I'm sceptical really, because I just think that it's perhaps too late really for anybody to be accountable. It happened and what we need now is an assurance that it won't happen again."

Asked whether she would call for criminal convictions, she said: "Yes I would, obviously. The CEO that was there at the time - I do feel perhaps wasn't qualified really to handle what was going on at the hospital."

Mrs Peacham added: "I'm on my own living in a flat when I should be in a lovely old farmhouse that we were in having a good life, and it's just so, so sad.

"I couldn't afford to live there any more and I lost my retirement with Arthur and my future with him.

"It's something that we can't get over really. We can just hope that it gets easier to bear," she said.

Mr Peacham was admitted to hospital in December 2005, just two weeks after he retired, when he was suffering from back pain following a hernia operation - and he never returned home.

His wife said hospital staff told her he had contracted C Difficile and she claims they told her it was not contagious.

However, after her son researched the condition on the internet they realised its dangers.

Mrs Peacham said her husband once rang her from the hospital in a "hysterical" state after a man, who was suffering from C Difficile, dropped dead in front of him.

This was a man Mr Peacham had lots of contact with, as she said: "He was sitting on my husband's bed and they exchanged newspapers."

Mrs Peacham does not want to contemplate how she will feel if the report does say enough to satisfy the victims.

She said: "I just don't know what we'll do, because we've been hanging on waiting for the inquiry to finish and the report to be published, and I just hope that they've got it right and blame is where it should be, and this will never happen again."

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