Hospital Admits Error Lead To Man Suffering Stroke

Lawyer Calls For Lessons To Be Learnt After Patient Was Sent Home And Forgotten By The System

24.10.2011




A MAN who suffered a second stroke just three months after the first because of a basic administration error that saw medical staff fail to provide vital follow up treatment, has won his legal battle for answers.

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital failed to act on paperwork, which meant that John Walker (64) was never recalled for further treatment after being discharged from hospital in December 2008.

Now a medical law solicitor from Irwin Mitchell has called for the hospital to ensure that lessons have been learnt and administrative procedures improved to protect patient welfare.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has admitted full liability for the error and agreed an undisclosed six figure out of court settlement.

Mr Walker, a self employed courier from Ketley Bank, Telford initially suffered a stroke on10th December 2008 whilst he was working at home and was rushed to Princess Royal Hospital for treatment. He underwent a number of tests and physiotherapy and was discharged two days later.

However, follow up out-patient reviews which should have been arranged, were missed due to a simple administration error which meant Mr Walker was never sent a follow-up appointment. As such, he was never prescribed vital blood-thinning medication to prevent a further stroke.

On 19th March 2009, three months after his initial stroke, Mr Walker experienced blurring of his vision and became confused, such that he was unable to find his way back from the post office.

Mr Walker subsequently went to hospital where it was discovered he had suffered a second stroke. As a result he has been left partially sighted and is now unable to work.

Christopher Hurlston, a medical law solicitor from Irwin Mitchell, who represents Mr Walker, explained: “John should have been on medication to minimise the chances of suffering further strokes. Mr Walker was never given the medication he needed. He never received a follow-up appointment. He was simply sent home and forgotten by the system.

“Sadly John has been left permanently disabled as a result of this second stroke. He has suffered irreparable damage to his sight. Sadly this meant he was unable to continue working as a self employed courier and his business has since collapsed. Mr Walker was plunged into financial difficulties following the sudden collapse of his business.

“Although nothing will turn back the clock for John and his family, we very much hope that the settlement will provide him with some financial security. “It is also important that the Trust learns lessons from this incident and administrative procedures are scrutinised and improved to ensure that patient safety isn’t compromised as a result of a basic system failure.”

Mr Walker commented: “It’s been really tough trying to cope with the damage caused to my sight and in particular the fact that I can no longer drive I have not only lost my business but also my independence. “I have two sons and a daughter who live in West Bromwich and now I can’t just jump in the car whenever I want to visit them.

Since the stroke, I also find that I am very easily confused. I no longer have the confidence to go out of the house on my own. Even simple things like boiling the kettle are major hurdles for me now. I am thankful that I receive help from a good friend who has been helping me around the house.

“I am trying to move forward but it’s hard to get over the fact that a simple administrative error has caused so much damage and turned my life upside down. I just hope that the hospital will learn lessons so that no-one else suffers as I have. I do not blame the doctors or nurses for what I have been through. The care and treatment I received in hospital was excellent. This was an administrative issue and I blame the back-room office staff for allowing me to be lost in the system.”