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Hethersett widow mortified over handling of husband’s death

Sarah and Martin Collins were both employed by the East of England Ambulance Service Trust when Martin died at the age of 51 on July 3, 2021, just weeks after being diagnosed with terminal glioblastoma. Mrs. Collins was shocked and distressed by the way the news of her husband’s death was handled by the organization. She was inundated with messages of sympathy from colleagues less than 90 minutes after his death, before she even had the opportunity to speak to her children, because the information had been released to their coworkers without following the plan that had been made with his line manager for informing colleagues.

Despite the fact that the trust had been working closely with the family and a plan had been made with Martin’s line manager for informing colleagues in the event of his death, someone else deviated from this plan. This resulted in Mrs. Collins receiving messages and calls so soon after his death, causing her significant distress. She expressed her concerns that her children may have found out before they returned home, as she was still on the phone with the undertaker when the messages started coming in. She has since lodged a complaint with the trust, prompting an investigation by the East of England Ambulance Service Trust.

Martin and Sarah Collins, who live in Hethersett, had two young children together, in addition to Martin’s 24-year-old son from a previous relationship. Sarah expressed her children’s amazing support during the difficult time, while also stating that she had not received anything close to an apology from the trust. The East of England Ambulance Service Trust has expressed its deep regret for the additional distress caused to Mrs. Collins and has referred the issue to the Information Commissioner’s Office. The trust is carrying out its own investigation into the incident.

Martin’s diagnosis of glioblastoma came in May 2021, after he had been suffering from headaches for two weeks. Following his diagnosis, a Go Fund Me was set up to help him and his family create lasting memories in his final days, raising over £3,700. Despite the support provided by the trust during Martin’s illness, the mishandling of the news of his death caused unnecessary distress to his family, and it remains to be seen what actions will be taken by the organization to address their concerns.

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