Family of man who bled to death in hospital to take legal action
PUBLISHED: 07:01 13 July 2015
The partner of a man who died from internal bleeding after failings at Whipps Cross Hospital is taking legal action against the trust which runs it.
Jason Smith, of Matson Court, Woodford Green, was 40 when he died from a gastrointestinal haemorrhage after being admitted to the hospital’s A&E department with sweats, severe stomach cramps and vomiting blood.
Now Toni Connolly, Mr Smith’s partner, is hoping to secure compensation from Barts Health NHS Trust – which has admitted liability for his death in October 2013 – to support her and the couple’s two children.
Ms Connolly said: “We miss Jason every day and it remains incredibly hard to think back to how his condition deteriorated in hospital.
“While it is an important step forward that the trust has admitted liability, taking this action has always been about more than money.
“We just want to know that something is being done by the NHS to prevent anyone having to go through the nightmare that we have faced.”
An inquest at Walthamstow Coroners Court in February concluded Mr Smith died of natural causes contributed to by neglect.
Senior coroner Nadia Persaud said staff failed to understand his medical history, including suffering clots due to a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism in 1996.
They also failed to repeat blood samples after abnormal results were recorded, meaning necessary treatment was not identified, and failed to review his condition at the correct times.
Irwin Mitchell’s medical negligence lawyers are calling on the trust – placed in special measures earlier this year by the Care Quality Commission – to provide reassurances that safety has improved following his death.
Louise Forsyth, for the family, said: “While we welcome the admission of liability, we now hope that the trust will continue to work with us to settle the case and provide his loved ones with vital financial support.
“Above all the family are desperate for reassurances that lessons are being learned from past mistakes so that the safety of patients remains the ultimate priority.”
Mr Smith was taken to Whipps Cross Hospital by ambulance on the evening of October 28 2013 after stomach cramps he had suffered for several days became more severe and he began vomiting blood.
He died shortly after 9am the following day.
In her conclusion at the inquest, senior coroner Nadia Persaud said there was a failure by the medical team to take a “full and thorough” history related to his condition, which meant there was a failure to appreciate the bleeding.
She also stated a failure to repeat a blood sample after abnormal results became apparent at 1am on October 29 meant an opportunity to gain a further understanding of his condition was missed, which would have led to a transfusion and a gastroscopy or CT scan.
The trust also failed to follow the early warning sign policy, which meant medical reviews were not carried out at the correct time during Mr Smith’s care.
A statement published by Barts NHS Trust said: “The trust’s sincere condolences are with the family of Mr Smith.
“We have held a thorough investigation and actions have been taken to ensure that failings do not occur again.
“As the litigation is ongoing, the trust is unable to comment further.”
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