Revolutionary clinic offers hope to patients and their families
20 January 2014
Hundreds of people suffering from lupus and forms of sclerosis could have their lives extended by pioneering new treatment at Southend University Hospital.
Professor Bhaskar Dasgupta, one of the world's leading experts
in rheumatology, established a clinical trial that helped Pat
Hudson enjoy five precious years of life after she was diagnosed
with diffuse systemic sclerosis with pulmonary arterial
hypertension and osteoporosis.
"She was a very ill lady," recalls Professor
Dasgupta. "Given her circumstances at the time and the normal
course of treatment, she did not have very long to live. I invited
her to try a new drug, Talafil and she bravely agreed. For Pat it
was something of a success, as she went on to live five more happy
years with her husband Terry, and sons Glen and Darren."
After this inspiring and positive experience, Bhaskar now wants
to found a specialist clinic devoted to the care and treatment of
people with conditions that affect connective tissue in the
"There are a small handful in the UK but none at all in Essex,
so this would be the first in the area. Diseases such as lupus and
sclerosis affect many different parts of the body; including the
kidneys, chest and even the brain, so patients often have to see
lots of different specialists, at different times, for their one
"This also means that they spend ages trekking round to
different departments in the hospital. I hope that this new clinic
will be a 'one stop shop,' where the specialists from various
departments come together in one place for the patients."
Southend Hospital is recognised nationally and internationally
as a centre of excellence for research and work in this area, as
said by NHS England, and Professor Dasgupta believes the new clinic
will offer additional benefits: "It would also offer
additional education to nurses, holistic care, physiotherapy and,
of course, give access to the latest treatments - not only those
available on the NHS but also drugs undergoing clinical
He added "Clinical trial drugs can have a massive impact on
lengthening an individual's life. Pat Hudson was given an extra
five years, which meant so much to her and her family. So this
clinic could really improve life expectancy for people with a
variety of diseases."
With funding now being raised to establish the clinic, the very
first donation came from Mrs Hudson's family.
Her 43-year old son, Glen, has already raised over £1,200 and
has secured match-funding from his employer, a leading high street
bank, that will further boost the total.
Glen, from Canvey Island, said: "Mum was 70 when she died.
Before that she was a sales assistant at Marks and Spencer who was
very much loved and liked. Over one hundred people came to her
funeral, including lots of her old M&S colleagues. The new
treatment she was on was amazing and it prolonged her life, without
a doubt. It also gave her a much better quality of life. You could
even see the wrinkles in her face again," he said referring to
the fact that her condition caused the skin to tighten.
"I am delighted what Professor Dasgupta is doing because it will
help some good come to out of something so bad. It may be a small
donation to begin with but I am pleased to be the one to set the
Mr Hudson added: "The thing about the patient having to go
back to the hospital, week after week, for different tests and
appointments in different areas, with different people was a real
strain on mum and us as a family, so the 'one stop shop' concept is
amazing and really will help sufferers and their families."