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Stephen Smith died after fighting the DWP from his sickbed. His story is far from unique

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The images of 64-year-old Stephen Smith‘s withered and emaciated body were some of the toughest I have ever had to publish.

To see a human being in that condition was distressing. To find out he had been denied benefits and told to go and find work was unforgivable.

Learning about his death this week was really difficult. When I last met Stephen at the end of January he was looking a bit healthier, had put on some weight, and was relieved to finally be getting the money that he had been so wrongfully blocked from receiving for so long.

In February @AmberRuddHR responded to the pictures of Stephen Smith’s emaciated body and said her department would look into his case to see ‘what didn’t happen correctly’.
Following Stephen’s death – we’d like to ask if she has come to any conclusions.https://t.co/Hjt8H6mhiK

— Liam Thorp (@LiamThorpECHO) April 22, 2019

Two doctors were ignored

We don’t know the exact reasons for Stephen’s death at this stage – he was battling a range of debilitating illnesses including COPD, osteoarthritis, an enlarged prostate and, more recently, pneumonia.

But his draining year-long battle against the state, which included having to get a pass out of hospital to fight and win a tribunal, can only have had a detrimental effect on his already failing health.


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