Hospital 'Withholds' Death Inquiry Findings

Kettering Hospital In Northamptonshire Has Been Found To Have "Withheld" An Inquiry's Findings

22.01.2014

Kettering Hospital has reportedly withheld the results of an inquiry into the death of a teenager.

Executives at the medical institution are thought to have been concerned about the "mental health of staff", which they believe could be harmed if the specifics of 17-year-old Victoria Harrison's death are revealed.

Despite a Freedom of Information request from the BBC asking for all of the details of the case to be revealed, bosses claim that a full investigation will take place and all of the relevant parties involved informed of the results.

It is thought that the teenager died after an appendix operation failed to prevent internal organs from failing, but this is not clear as the coroner's full findings have not been released to the press.

Media reports claim that one of Miss Harrison's arteries were damaged during surgery, but that this was fixed while she was anaesthetised.

Later that day, however, the 17-year-old texted her boyfriend from her bed to say that she was in pain and bleeding, but nursing staff were not aware of this, while an inquest was told that staff had problems reading surgeons' handwriting and that this might have contributed to the young woman's death.

A statement released by the coroner pertaining to Miss Harrison's death read: "Windows of opportunity to treat Victoria were lost - had these been acted upon the outcome may have been different. I believe her chances of survival would have significantly increased."

Kettering Hospital's spokesperson refused to release a new statement on the matter when approached by the BBC but confirmed guidance had been "strengthened" in regards to post-operative care at the facility.

Tracey Foskett, Miss Harrison's mother, told the BBC she was "depressed and angry" because of her daughter's death.

"I do feel I forgive the hospital, mistakes are made, but it was a mistake that cost my daughter's future, I think it [the report] should be out in the public domain, but obviously without names."

Expert Opinion
This is extremely concerning news, especially the statement released by the coroner that noted windows of opportunity were lost in Miss Harrison’s care. A patient has potentially died through numerous hospital failings and this is devastating for the family involved and a grossly unacceptable situation to happen.

“One of the key recommendations following the review into the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, where hundreds of patients died needlessly, called for a Duty of Candour from Hospital Trusts that would mean mistakes were reported and shared so lessons could be learnt to protect future patient safety.

“Miss Harrison’s family and other Kettering Hospital patients deserve reassurance about what steps have been taken to prevent future tragedies and we hope the Trust will see the benefits of working towards a more open and transparent way of caring for patients.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner