Jodi Charles, 42, saw a picture of her late father on her friend’s packet of cigarettes and was left in total shock.
She claims she is ‘110 per cent’ sure that the image is that of her dad, David Ross, who died in 2015 aged 66. She claims there is ‘no way’ he would have given consent for his photo – found on the front of an Amber Leaf tobacco package.
Although a smoker, the former ambulance driver died of unrelated bone marrow problems, septicaemia and lymphoma – a rare type of blood cancer.
He spent 10 months in hospital, and was on life support on three occasions, which is when Jodi claims that somebody must have taken the photo. The image shows a man lying unconscious in a hospital bed with a breathing tube in his mouth.
The EU Commission claims the image is of someone else, as part of one of the 42 gory health warning images used on all cigarette packaging across the UK, but Jodi says she is yet to receive proof of that.
Jodi said it was her 14-year-old daughter who came running into the room after noticing the picture, but she, herself, ‘without any doubt’ knew that it was her dad. The mum-of-two also claims her own mother said it was David.
“I cut my dad’s hair for 20 years,” she said. “I know exactly how his hairline was, exactly where it sticks up a little.
“I also cut his eyebrows and know all the tiny details of his face. The whole picture looks exactly like him.
“His eyes were puffed up when he was in intensive care and they are in the photo, too.”
Jodi took a lot of time during the difficult period to care for her dad, and said that although she had learned to deal with the grief, seeing this image had only brought it all back again. Jodi also said that because he didn’t die of a smoking-related disease it’s ‘absolutely disgusting’.
The EU Commission can’t comment on the individuals to protect their identity but said: “We are very sorry for the distress caused to this young lady who believes that her father is depicted in this health warning.
“However, having checked the details of her father against the identity of the person depicted, we can categorically state that the person in this picture is not David Ross.”
The Commission also stated that all individuals featured in their images have given their consent.
Jodi remains unconvinced and has threatened legal action if she does not get the confirmation she requires to say that it is not her dad.
The Basildon and Thurrock university Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where David received care, said: “There are only two departments which take photos – communications, for charity events… and medical photography.
“Neither of those departments have forwarded any photos to the photo library.”
Sometimes, sharing such final moments can help with the grieving process. Mum, Ruth, described her son’s final moments in hospital, showing two pictures of Nolan lying down next to the shower which she was using.
Nolan had been fighting Rhandomyosarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer, since November 2015.