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Ill dad forced to pay £200,000 for treatment

Matthew Crowley in a hospital bed
Matthew Crowley in a hospital bed Image credit:

A man suffering from a severe stomach condition has been told he must spend thousands of pounds if he wants to undergo live-changing surgery.

Matthew Crowley, from Sherburn in North Yorkshire, lives with gastroparesis, a complication of type 1 diabetes which he was diagnosed with at the age of 13.

It is not uncommon for the 26-year-old to vomit up to 40 times a day, bringing up so much food has seen the father-of-two lose a considerable amount of weight.

The illness has dramatically affected Matthew’s mental health who was once described as a ‘very active’ dad.

Crowley needs to be fitted with a pacemaker-like device the size of a credit card, but the operation is not covered on the NHS, so Matthew will need to pay £20,000 out of his own pocket.

His mother Clare Crowley said: “This is a 26-year-old who’s spending his time either in bed at home or in a hospital – that’s not a life for anybody.”

The procedure Matthew needs, known as gastroelectrical stimulation (GES) is not available on NHS England despite being offered in some parts Scotland and Wales.

Since being diagnosed with gastroparesis when he was 22 Crowley’s condition has deteriorated triggering an episode on a weekly basis.

“I spend the first couple of days constantly and violently vomiting,” Matthew told i . “I can’t even keep a sip of water down. Then I have a day or two dead to the world, where I just sleep because I’m so exhausted.

“Then I try to start eating, but I’m in constant agony, in my stomach and back. I have two children aged 11 and five, and it’s horrible for them to see me like this.”

In December he was forced to leave his job at a builder’s merchant spending numerous days and nights on a hospital ward with morphine or attached to a drip because of dehydration.

Matthew has tried to control his condition with botox and opening his stomach through balloon dilation, but both methods were unsuccessful.

He now wants to try GES, which involves a device fitted in the abdomen sending electric impulses to the stomach muscles so they can operate more functionally.

A study showed the procedure had an 87 per cent success rate reducing vomiting, minimising hospital stays and improving gastric emptying.

But the NHS say some patients do not benefit from the device and removing it from the abdomen “can be serious”.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines state the procedure is “adequate” to use on the NHS.