Hospital admits failure after sending home man with life threatening condition

29.09.2005

A Birmingham man with a life threatening, severely obstructed bowel was sent home from Good Hope Hospital after staff failed to identify his condition on several occasions.

60-year-old Clive Page from Tyburn Road, Erdington, became gravely ill with a perforated bowel and underwent five unnecessary operations as a result of Good Hope Hospital's failures. He has since been left with horrific scars, which required plastic surgery.

Good Hope Hospital NHS Trust have now admitted failing to properly investigate Mr Page's symptoms and have accepted that had they done so he would not have suffered a bowel perforation. Mr Page has now received a substantial out of court settlement.

Mr Page, a father of two and a former security guard with Wackenhut, based at Tyseley, first attended the A&E department of Good Hope Hospital on 30th May 2002 having seen his GP regarding abdominal pain, nausea, loss of weight and vomiting. He was examined by medical staff and had an abdominal X-ray taken but was discharged back to his GP.

The following day, after again visiting his GP, Mr Page was referred back to Good Hope Hospital and this time he was admitted. He had a further abdominal X-ray and ultrasound scan but was discharged on 7th June with the promise of an urgent out patient appointment, despite complaining that he felt very unwell.

Four days later, in the early hours of 11th June, Mr Page collapsed at home and was rushed to Good Hope Hospital by ambulance. It was eventually discovered that Mr Page had been suffering from a bowel obstruction, which had since perforated.

Following two emergency operations, Mr Page became so gravely ill with peritonitis that his family were informed by the hospital that there was a strong possibility he might die.

A third operation followed three days later and during the post-operative care Mr Page became infected by MRSA bacteria.

Now, more than three years later, Mr Page has had two further bowel operations and plastic surgery for severe abdominal scarring. As a result of the delay in diagnosis he has been unable to return to work and could face further surgery in the future.

Mr Page explained: "The whole experience has left me with such mixed emotions. I know I'm very lucky to be alive. However, I'm still extremely angry that the hospital put me through such hell and failed to diagnose my condition when I first visited A&E. They insisted on sending me home on two separate occasions even though I was obviously very ill. At one point, while I was waiting in the hospital reception for a taxi home, I was violently sick. A nurse came over to help me and I told her I felt dreadful but they still sent me home regardless. It shouldn't have taken twelve days to spot there was something seriously wrong with me."

Tim Deeming, a solicitor with the Birmingham office of Irwin Mitchell, fought Mr Page's legal claim. He said: "It is of grave concern that Good Hope Hospital failed to spot how ill Mr Page was and overlooked the seriousness of his symptoms despite his own GP's awareness.

"Had he received the proper diagnosis and prompt medical care from the outset, there is no reason why he should not have had a completely straightforward recovery. We can only hope that the Trust has learned lessons from this extremely unfortunate case"