Family Criticise NHS After Multiple Mistakes Lead To Man’s Death

Lawyers At Irwin Mitchell Now Urging The NHS To Ensure Lessons Are Learnt To Prevent Future Tragedies

17.05.2011

The family of a man who died from appendicitis eight months after undergoing surgery which should have removed his appendix say they are “appalled and angry” by the standard of care he received by the NHS.  

The criticism comes following an inquest into the death of 81-year-old John William Longmore at Bradford Coroner’s Court, in which Coroner Dr Bell recorded a verdict of death by natural causes, contributed to by neglect.

Now the family’s lawyers, medical law specialists at Irwin Mitchell, are calling for the NHS to conduct a thorough review of the case and take action to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future. 

Mr Longmore, from Wakefield, underwent keyhole surgery to remove his appendix at Pinderfields General Hospital in August 2009. But instead of removing his appendix, the locum doctor who carried out the procedure removed tissue from the surrounding area. When he was discharged from the hospital he was not provided with a date for a follow up appointment.

Even three months later after tests identified that the tissue removed during surgery was not from his appendix, and that he was therefore at risk of developing further infections, the hospital did not carry out a review of his condition.

In March 2010 he was again admitted to Pinderfields General Hospital with acute appendicitis, and this time underwent an open operation to remove his appendix. Sadly he was unable to recover from the operation and died, aged 81, on 27 April.

Ian Murray, a solicitor in the Medical Law team at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Mr Longmore died as a result of a series of basic errors and it is vital that the NHS takes prompt action to address this.

“The fact an operation to remove Mr Longmore’s appendix was completely unsuccessful, followed by a two month delay in recognising that the appendicectomy was unsuccessful is extremely concerning, but for the hospital not to review Mr Longmore even once they were aware the operation had failed is totally unacceptable.

“This case highlights how basic errors so often have a tragic and devastating effect on the lives of patients and their families. It is vital that the NHS conducts a thorough review of this case to make sure this does not happen again in the future.

“Our clients want to know that steps are being taken to prevent other mistakes in the future, and want reassurances that this situation cannot happen again. Irwin Mitchell has repeatedly called for improvements in patient safety and will continue to campaign on our clients’ behalf.”

David Longmore, John’s son, said: “My father’s death has left a huge void in all of our lives and there is nothing that can be done to replace that. My mother found it very difficult to live alone and she herself died just a few months after his death.

“It makes us extremely angry to know Dad died as a result of such basic failures. The hospital knew that the operation had been unsuccessful and that he was still at risk of a further episode of appendicitis, but they did nothing about it.

“I sincerely hope the NHS takes prompt action to prevent this from happening again. The care my father received was appalling and you expect a lot better from the NHS.”

Notes to Editors

Please note: the family will not be doing interviews at the inquest and have asked that all media enquiries come through the Irwin Mitchell press office.