Parents of man who died day after Hancock filmed kissing aide ‘livid’ over hospital rules

Parents of man who died day after Hancock filmed kissing aide ‘livid’ over hospital rules
Family say they were ‘barely allowed’ to visit their dying son in his final weeks

Parents of a man who died the day before Matt Hancock was captured breaking Covid rules say they were treated “like criminals” for wanting to visit their dying son in his final weeks.

Ollie Bibby, 27, from South Benfleet, Essex, died of leukaemia in hospital on 5 May – just a day before former health secretary was filmed on CCTV kissing a senior aide.

His parents claim they were “barely allowed” to visit him during the seven weeks he was in hospital and described his treatment as “barbaric and inhumane”.

In 2016, Mr Bibby was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. After four years in remission, he relapsed in July last year and was given a bone marrow transplant.

He had been living at home with his parents until he was admitted into University College London Hospital (UCLH) in March. While in hospital, he was alone all the time and had “begged” to see his family, said his mother, Penny.

“Ollie was in a room on his own and it was horrific for him,” she told BBC News. “He suffered from anxiety and depression and he would just spend all this time on his own, worrying about his future.

“It was clear that the hospital did not want us there. We felt like we were criminals. The security staff would be better off at a nightclub, they were so aggressive.

“We just wanted to comfort our son. He felt like he was being punished for being ill. He was not even allowed to see a counsellor. The way he was treated was barbaric and inhumane.”

She said at first her son was not allowed any visitors but the rules later changed to allow one visit a week from one nominated person. The family spoke to their MP who persuaded hospital bosses to allow two visits a week for one nominated person.

“I understand hospitals need to keep people safe from coronavirus, but we were shielding and taking lateral flow tests and doing everything possible to protect Ollie,” Ms Bibby said.

As his health deteriorated, he needed to go into intensive care but refused to do so unless he could see his parents. “Nurses were constantly asking us why we were in there and if we were allowed,” she continued.

“It made a horrendous situation 50 times worse.”

The parents said they were “livid” when they heard about the former health secretary breaking social distancing rules during the same period they struggled to see their dying son.

“We did everything we were told to do and the man that made the rules didn’t. How can that be right?” Ms Bibby said.

“I’m disgusted – for that man to be carrying on like that, and us following the rules,” Mr Bibby’s father, Simon, said. “We feel cheated out of the last six weeks of his life.”

Ollie Bibby passed away surrounded by his parents and girlfriend and his mother said his death has left the “biggest hole in our family”.

She told Southend Echo: “He really was amazing. We were best friends. We all miss him so much. We’re all devastated.

“He had a really big heart. In our house we have loads of stuff that he brought to help the homeless.”

The family plan to make a formal complaint to the hospital in the hope that some rules could be changes for future patients.

“We do not blame the staff, they were just following the rules, but people higher up need to understand how traumatic this has been and work out a plan for each individual patient,” Ms Bibby said.

“We were lucky that we were with Ollie when he died, but so many families haven’t been able to say goodbye to their loved ones. How many more patients need to die alone, for them to listen?”

UCLH said it would “learn from her family’s experience”. A spokesperson for the hospital told the BBC: “We are confident that Ollie received appropriate care and treatment and that regular visits were allowed in line with hospital guidance.

“We understand that having limits on visitors can be difficult, but these are necessary to protect patients from Covid-19, particularly the most vulnerable. We are in touch with Penny so we can learn from her family’s experience.”

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