Cancer patient has ‘awful experience’ aboard Wightlink

Island business owner Jon Benton, claims his wife had to endure an “awful experience” on a Wightlink ferry after she had invasive surgery for cancer.

Jon explained he had to take his wife to the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth for highly invasive cancer treatment, including the removal of 11 lymph nodes in February.

Jon’s wife – Mandy had to be admitted at 7am, so they felt they should go over the night before to ensure she wouldn’t miss her date. After the operation and a period of observation, she was discharged on the provisos that she was driven straight home.

“She had four operation sites, stitches and three chest drains,” explained Mr Benton.

Wightlink stock image

The businessman called Wightlink 10 days before the operation, and explained the situation that she would be in considerable pain and couldn’t leave the car for the crossing.

An employee for the ferry operator told him that’s fine and to notify the shore staff of the situation upon boarding.

Mr Benton said: “As requested on arrival I notified a member of the crew, he turned to his colleague across the other side of the deck and shouted, ‘this blokes wife has had an operation and she’s got stitches in her chest and other s*** going on’.”

Jon believes this caused unnecessary stress, and embarrassment to his wife.

He said: “I tried to explain the situation, and had previously arranged for my wife to remain in our vehicle for obvious reasons.

“Eventually the Wightlink employee said, ‘the captain said it’s against policy, and if you don’t get your wife out of the car, you’ll have to get off’.

“She couldn’t use her arms and couldn’t manage the stairs so a sympathetic female member of staff helped us into the lift – which smelled strongly of fuel and was filthy.

“By the time we got up to the deck, people seemed to be aware of situation, and consequently made my wife the centre of attention, she was tearful, exhausted and in pain, and had everyone staring at her. It was an awful experience, and only added to her pain and general discomfort.

“The captain attempted to justify his decision to make my wife get out of the car, saying it was policy, but I was so angry I felt I couldn’t talk to him.”

Jon complained to the IOW Chamber of Commerce about the incident.

Wightlink apologised to the couple and gave Mrs Benton a £300 voucher as compensation for her experience – most of this was used for postoperative appointments.

Wightlink have been contacted for comment.