THE PARENTS of a young autistic man who died while waiting for an operation at a hospital have called for answers over their son’s death.

Richard and Janet Stuart's son Mark, 22, died of a cardiac arrest at Royal Blackburn Hospital in 2015, after spending five days there in agony.

Mr Stuart had been waiting for an operation on a blocked bowel and his parents said he had been left starving and thirsty in hospital.

An independent report and investigation found a catalogue of failings in his care and that his death may have been avoidable.

But Mr Stuart's parents dispute the independence of the report and feels that their concerns have been disregarded by hospital chiefs.

They will now meet with NHS investigators in north west England next week to discuss the independent report into his case.

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, his parents, from Kendal, said that their son had been 'left to rot' in hospital and that they wanted more light shed on his ordeal.

They said: "Mark was admitted to A&E with a blocked bowel and needed an operation, and in the five days that followed before he died, he was treated appallingly.

"He wasn't getting the right nutrition or fluids and there were issues with blood tests and prescriptions.

"Mark told us that he had been left to rot in bed in hospital and that he was 22 not 80. He was right and he died 24 hours later."

His parents now want a new investigation into their son's death.

They added: “There was nothing independent or transparent about the report or investigation and there needs to be a new one. We've been kept in the dark and want answers."

Professor Damian Riley, strategic clinical lead at East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, who have apologised for their failings, said the trust has made every effort to be open and transparent with Mr Stuart's family.

He said: “Mark Stuart died whilst under the care of the trust in 2015.

"It was immediately recognised and acknowledged by the trust at that time that Mark’s care fell below our usual standard, and immediate actions were taken.

"The circumstances surrounding Mark’s sad death were subsequently fully considered at a public inquest by HM Senior Coroner for Blackburn in February 2017. Mark’s death was also reviewed by way of the trust’s SIRI (Serious Incident Requiring Investigation) process, during which the trust was advised by an independent expert, and also by an external investigation team who were independently commissioned by a Clinical Commissioning Group to investigate the care Mark received.

"Following these investigations, the trust identified, publicly acknowledged and apologised unreservedly to Mark’s family for a number of shortcomings in relation to Mark’s care during his admission in 2015.

"The trust recognises that this apology and the assurances regarding all changes that have been implemented since 2015 may never adequately address the feelings of Mark’s family."

He added: "The trust has made every effort to be open and transparent with Mark’s family.

"The openness of the trust is acknowledged in the independent report. The investigations were shared with Mark’s family and the trust has met and corresponded with the family on numerous occasions to discuss the case.

"The trust is always dedicated to improving the services it provides and to ensure all lessons are learned. The trust took immediate steps following the incident to safeguard against the occurrence of a similar scenario and has acted upon the recommendations of all the investigations. An independent review has been carried out since Mark’s death to confirm the wide range of changes and improvements that the trust has put in place. The implementation of these changes has also been overseen by our commissioners to whom we have reported.

"In November 2018 the trust’s board were updated regarding the recommendations and actions arising from the independent report. The information shared in the trust board relating to Mark’s circumstances and treatment was limited to that which was already in the public domain."