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Tameside Hospital Fatal Failure Leads to Compensation Claim

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Pearson Solicitors’ Clinical Negligence Team has recently secured a settlement of £7,500 in a case where the failure to adequately manage an evolving small bowel obstruction led to a patient’s deterioration and eventual death.

Pearson Solicitors were instructed on behalf of Mrs T’s Estate as prior to these events Mrs T was an independent and active lady.

She attended the Accident and Emergency Department at Tameside Hospital complaining of severe upper stomach pain radiating to her back. Following medical review and an x-ray a working diagnosis of aggravated ulcer was formed and medication was administered to reduce acid and relieve pain.

However her pain and nausea increased and she was referred to the Medical Assessment Unit for review. Doctors failed to take responsibility for the management of our clients condition and she was left with increasingly significant pain and nausea for two days.

Eventually an impression was formed of a possible small bowel obstruction and she was referred for surgical review. Before the review could take place however she began to vomit black liquid and a plan was formed to insert a Ryles tube to relieve pressure in her stomach.

Unfortunately Mrs T had by this point been left with the bowel obstruction for so long that she had begun to regurgitate gastric content and was aspirating vomitus. Ultimately she was listed for surgery to relieve the bowel obstruction but, due to complications caused by her underlying chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, she did not tolerate the general anaesthetic and she sadly died.

On conclusion of the investigation we secured admissions from the Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust that there had been missed opportunities to diagnose the patients small bowel obstruction, that there was an unacceptable delay in identifying the cause of her worsening condition due to the unrelieved small bowel obstruction and its consequences, that surgery should have been performed earlier and that, if surgery had been performed earlier, Mrs T’s chances of survival would have been greater.

But for the failures in her care Mrs T would not have died and had a greater prospects of surviving the operation if she had not been allowed to deteriorate as significant as she had.

Commenting on the case Kenneth Lees, specialist clinical negligence solicitor, said “This is a very sad claim where a fully independent and self-caring lady died as a result of failures in her care.

“Even though she had pre-existing COPD this would not have represented a significant risk to her but for the failures in the care that she received. Mrs T’s condition was stable and had been well managed by medication. Whilst the period of time that we were instructed to consider was very limited, the scale of damages recovered for Mrs T’s Estate demonstrate the horrific experience that she had as a result of the failures in the care that she received”.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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