THE Fishermen’s Mission, a charity that provides emergency support to fishermen and their families, helps James Major the best it can and pays for him to go for his treatment in London.
The 33-year-old has to take more than eight different types of medication on a daily basis as well as change dressings on his legs and manage the blood clots that have spread across his body.
After failing to claim Job Seekers Allowance, he got a job as a deckhand on a crabbing boat called the Ebony in 2010.
“After four weeks, the boat had to come back in because I was so ill. More blood clots had formed from me being on my feet all the time, and I nearly died a second time.
“I was taken to Brixham hospital, near Torquay, and was told if I had been an hour or two later I would have been dead.
“This time round I had got septicaemia and blood poisoning.
“I was in a bad way and I asked to be transferred to Grimsby so I could be near my family.
“I called about Employment and Support Allowance again and explained the situation, but they said I was still not entitled to anything because I was claiming for the same thing as before.”
He claimed: “I was bed-bound for the next couple of months, living on next to nothing.
“However, when I was well enough I had no choice but to go back to sea again.
“I joined a scallop trawler but after five weeks I had to be rushed back in again because my right leg had swelled up to twice its normal size.
“I was taken to Holyhead in Wales, but my condition was so bad I was rushed to Bangor Hospital where they said I should have been dead days ago.
“I was brought back to Grimsby again and tried to claim, but was told the same as last time.”
Port missioner Tony Jewitt said: “The mission has sent Mr Major to a specialist hospital in London because of his condition.
“He has clearly been told he can never work again, which was devastating for him.
“He has a huge problem with his health and he is really struggling now. I feel he needs to be reviewed and looked at seriously.
“We support him as much as possible with various things, including his rail ticket to get to London for his treatment.
“The people who review benefit claims have got this wrong.”
A spokesman from the Department for Work and Pensions said: “We shouldn’t automatically write off a person’s ability to work, solely on the basis of a health condition or disability.
“That’s why the Work Capability Assessment doesn’t focus on a particular diagnosis, but on the actual abilities of an individual, and whether that person – with the right support – could undertake suitable work.
“People who are too sick or disabled will continue to receive our unconditional support, but those who are able to work will get specialist help through the Work Programme. Customers unhappy with the decision made can appeal.”
A spokesperson for Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals was unable to comment on Mr Major’s condition.