Loved Ones Of Man Who Died After Whipps Cross Care Failings Demand Safety Reassurances

Specialist Lawyers Secure Admission of Liability From Barts Health NHS Trust

08.07.2015

A woman whose partner died of internal bleeding following a series of failings at Whipps Cross Hospital two years ago has urged Barts Health NHS Trust to learn from his case, as specialist lawyers continue efforts to gain justice in relation to his death.

Jason Smith, from Woodford Green, died aged 40 on October 29th 2013 from a gastrointestinal haemorrhage after being admitted to the hospital’s Accident and Emergency department with sweats, severe stomach cramps and vomiting blood.

An inquest into his death at Walthamstow Coroners Court in February this year concluded that Mr Smith died of natural causes contributed to by neglect, with the coroner revealing there was:

  • A failure by staff to understand Mr Smith’s medical history, including that he had regular blood tests and suffered clots due to DVT and a pulmonary embolism diagnosed in 1996
  • A failure to repeat blood samples after abnormal results were recorded, which meant necessary treatment was not identified
  • A failure to comply with policies which meant reviews of Mr Smith’s condition were not undertaken at the correct time.

Now, after securing an admission of liability from Barts Health NHS Trust regarding Mr Smith’s death, Irwin Mitchell’s specialist medical negligence lawyers are now continuing to working on behalf of his former partner Toni Connolly to secure vital funds to support her and their two children.

The legal experts are also calling on the trust, which has been in the spotlight after being placed in special measures earlier this year following a damning report by the Care Quality Commission, to provide reassurances that patient safety has improved following the death.

Expert Opinion
“Two years on from his tragic death, Jason’s family are continuing to try to come to terms with and make sense of the series of failings which contributed towards his haemorrhage.

“His death is another shocking example of the problems seen at Barts Health NHS Trust in recent years and while we welcome the admission of liability, we now hope that the trust will continue to work with us to settle the case and provide his loved ones with vital financial support.

“Above all however, the family are desperate for reassurances that lessons are being learned from past mistakes so that the safety of patients remains the ultimate priority.”
Louise Forsyth, Associate

Jason Smith was taken to Whipps Cross Hospital by ambulance on the evening of October 28th after stomach cramps he had suffered for several days became more severe and he was also vomiting blood. He passed away shortly after 9am on the following day.

In her conclusion at the inquest, Senior Coroner Nadia Persaud said that there was a failure by the medical team to take a “full and thorough” history related to his condition, which meant there was a failure to appreciate the bleeding.

She also stated that a failure to repeat a blood sample after abnormal results became apparent at 1am on October 29th meant an opportunity was missed to gain a further understanding of his condition, which would have led to a transfusion and a gastroscopy or CT scan.

It was also found that the Trust failed to follow the Early Warning Sign policy, which meant medical reviews were not carried out at the correct time during Mr Smith’s care.

His former partner Toni Connolly recalls: “We miss Jason every day and it remains incredibly hard to think back to how his condition deteriorated in hospital.

“It was incredibly hard to listen to the findings of the inquest and the failings that contributed towards Jason’s death. While it is an important step forward that the trust has admitted liability, taking this action has always been about more than money.

“We just want to know that something is being done by the NHS to prevent anyone having to go through the nightmare that we have faced.”

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of hospital negligence, we may be able to help you claim compensation. See our Medical Negligence Guide for more information.