An inquest into the death of a 40-year-old man has revealed that there were a number of failings by the medical staff who were treating him in hospital.
Lawyers from Irwin Mitchell represented the family of Jason Smith, following his death on 29 October 2013.
A three-day inquest was held into Jason’s death before HM Coroner Nadia Persaud.
Jason, a father-of-three, had a medical history of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lungs). On the evening of 28 October 2014 he was admitted to Whipps Cross Hospital, in London, by ambulance after suffering from stomach pain and vomiting blood. He had various blood tests, heart monitoring and x-rays.
His condition deteriorated through the night and he died on the morning of 29 October from a gastro-intestinal haemorrhage.
The Coroner at Jason’s inquest came to the conclusion that his death was a consequence of natural causes contributed to by neglect. She accepted the evidence provided by the pathologist, in relation to the care at the hospital, and found that were several failings by medical staff.
The surgical team failed to take a full and thorough look at Jason’s medical history despite essential information being recorded by the staff in A&E and by paramedics. The surgeons also failed to question Jason about the blood in his vomit; his partner could have confirmed this fact as this was the issue that prompted the initial call to the emergency services.
Medical staff also did not repeat blood tests despite the samples showing grossly abnormal results. After analysing the findings, the doctor should have reconducted the tests himself. In addition, Jason should have been given medical reviews on a number of occasions and should have been under observation every 30 minutes.
HM Coroner Nadia Persaud stated that the accumulation of these factors resulted in a gross failure to provide basic medical attention. Had this care been provided, Jason would not have died the next morning.
The Trust conducted an internal investigation into the events and has since made significant changes to the systems for requesting and processing blood samples. The Trust has also provided individual learning and feedback to all the nursing staff involved. The surgeons involved have undergone individual learning and the case has been considered at a surgical morbidity and mortality meeting.
Prior to the conclusion of the inquest, the Trust admitted liability for Jason’s death.
Louise Forsyth, an expert medical negligence lawyer, based in our London office, represented the family. In relation to the case, she said: “Mr Smith’s family would like to the Coroner for taking the time to investigate the circumstances surrounding their loss.
“This has been a very difficult time for the family who have many questions and the inquest has gone some way in providing an answer to these.”
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