Grieving father 'won't stop fight for truth' as Sussex hospital deaths investigation widens

  • Simon Chilcott told ITV News Meridian's Tom Savvides that it's been "horrific" grieving his son

A grieving father has said he "won't stop" until he has the truth about his son's death.

Lewis Chilcott, 23, died after an alleged error during a tracheostomy led to an infection and a fatal arterial haemorrhage in 2021.

The tracheostomy, when a hole is created in the neck to help the patient breathe, took place at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, Sussex.

Lewis was then transferred to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, where he died.

Lewis Chilcott, 23, died after an alleged error during a tracheostomy led to an infection and a fatal arterial haemorrhage in 2021. Credit: Family handout

His father, Simon Chilcott, says it has been "horrific" grieving his son and trying to find out what happened to him.

Sussex Police has widened its investigation into allegations of medical negligence relating to around 40 deaths at the hospital.

The force has confirmed it is now looking at cases from 2015 to 2021. It was previously only covering the period up to 2020.

Simon says the family have spent the past two years trying to get answers from the NHS Trust and welcome the extension of the police review.

Simon has described grieving his son as "horrific". Credit: Family handout

Simon said: "It's horrific. I've taken all of this on my shoulders, in some small way it keeps Lewis in my mind.

"People say there's not a day that goes by when they don't think of their loved ones and stuff like that, well I can pretty much say there's not a hour that goes by where I'm not thinking of Lewis and what can I do next.

"I will not stop until I've had the truth and I just know in my heart of hearts what that truth is.

"When Lewis died, however long it takes them to investigate it, it should have just been dealt with, it shouldn't be dragged on like this.

"For us, we will never ever get over losing Lewis, we just never will.

"I just think it's unfair that I'm having to have this extra level of hurt in my life because we will never ever move forward from this."

Sussex Police is investigating 40 deaths at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. Credit: ITV News Meridian

A spokesperson for University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust said: "We are unable to publicly discuss matters relating to an ongoing police enquiry, but we are co-operating fully and will continue to do whatever we can to support the process."

A spokesperson for Sussex Police said: "Sussex Police has received allegations of medical negligence at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, and is currently assessing these allegations.

"The concerns raised relate to neurosurgery and general surgery in a period between 2015-2021.

"Enquiries are at an early stage and this does not necessarily mean this will lead to criminal prosecution.

"We are working closely with partner agencies and the Hospital Trust is co-operating fully with our review."