Devastated Wife Concerned About Care Her Husband Received At Barnsley Hospital

Medical Negligence Lawyers Secure Settlement


The heartbroken wife of a man who died from heart failure following a failure to diagnose and treat inflammatory bowel disease while he was an in-patient at Barnsley Hospital has spoken out for the first time after specialist medical negligence lawyers secured her a settlement from the NHS Trust responsible for his care.

David Berman, from South Kirkby, in Pontefract died on 31st August 2010 after he was admitted to Barnsley Hospital just six days earlier suffering from vomiting and passing blood when he went to the toilet.

He started to suffer from diarrhoea and blood in his stools in early August – he visited his GP four times before being admitted to hospital. During this time he suffered dizzy spells, abdominal pain, blood in his stools and significant weight loss.

Although the 74-year-old was severely dehydrated when he was admitted to hospital on 25th August 2010 he had blood tests and a scan but was not given an IV drip for another two hours. Just six days later David felt faint and fell in the bathroom, he was again given an IV drip but suffered a heart attack, vomited a large amount of blood and sadly died.

David’s wife, Barbara instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care he received at Barnsley Hospital run by Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Despite the NHS Trust denying liability, the law firm has now secured David’s family an undisclosed settlement from the Trust to help provide his wife with care and support as she used to rely on her husband because of her own health issues.

The NHS Trust admitted that the post-mortem into David’s death was inaccurate. The report said that he died from congestive heart failure both medical experts instructed to investigate the case agreed this was not the case and that he in fact died from a heart attack secondary to colitis.   

It was alleged that an urgent sigmoidoscopy (routine test to examine the colon) should have been done which would have led to a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease following which David would have been prescribed intravenous fluids and steroids and he would have survived.

Expert Opinion
“David’s family have been left absolutely heartbroken following his death. He was a very active man and his health suddenly declined in August 2010.

“David went to his GP several times complaining of blood in his stools, weight loss and lethargy. When he was admitted to hospital he was severely dehydrated and should have had a thorough assessment by the doctors, taking into account his persistent abdominal symptoms.

“Our expert medical evidence suggests that due to his declining condition, David should have been examined by a specialist gastroenterologist he should have been prescribed steroids and intravenous fluids which would have improved his condition and he would have survived.

“We are pleased that we have been able to secure a settlement for David’s family, despite not receiving any admissions of liability from the Trust. We now hope that lessons can be learned from his tragic death.”
Rebecca Pearey, Solicitor

Barbara said: “It has been extremely difficult for me since David died; I struggled to be in our house on my own. David was not only my husband but my best friend and we spent all of our time together. He was the warmest and most kind hearted person I have ever met.

“I feel that the medical staff should have taken more precautions when treating him to ensure that all of his symptoms were carefully considered. He was previously a very healthy man and other than suffering from arthritis, he

“I suffer from a number of health problems and David was my carer and helped with a number of things around the house such as cooking and cleaning. I have a congenital hip problem and sciatic nerve pain which means I cannot stand for long periods of time and it hurts when I walk for long periods of time. I lost my job after David died and now I heavily rely on our son Jason for help around the house.

“I’m relieved that the legal process has now finished and I can start to rebuild my life with the help of my son.”

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.