Coroner Finds That Death Could Have Been Prevented
The family of a dad who died after collapsing at his daughter’s school prom have called for lessons to be learned after an inquest concluded that an emergency operation could have saved his life.
Alex Lockyer, from Guilford, was kept in overnight for observation at Royal Surrey County Hospital, after falling ill at his daughter’s prom on 13 May, 2016.
Following his discharge, Alex, 45, visited his GP three times complaining of chest pains.
However, the father-of-two collapsed at the family home on 20 May, 2016. Despite his wife Sara, 44, calling an ambulance and beginning CPR, Alex died at the home.
Following Alex’s death, Sara instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death in relation to the care he received from the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Coroner Anna Crawford concluded that ‘on the balance of probabilities’ Alex would have survived if he had undergone a procedure to repair his torn aorta.
Following the hearing Sara said: “Myself, Alisha and Huw have all been left truly devastated by Alex’s death.
“We feel our concerns regarding Alex’s condition were not taken seriously. Now to be told that Alex would probably still be alive today if doctors had performed a CT scan just adds to the pain and anger we are suffering.
“Alex was my soul mate and a brilliant father. Life will never be the same without him.
“I just hope that the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust realises the pain our family has and continue to suffer. I urge the trust to make sure it learns lessons from Alex’s death so others don’t experience our loss.”
Justine Spencer, a partner and the medical negligence specialist at Irwin Mitchell is representing the family.
Expert Opinion“The inquest has raised a number of very serious concerns in relation to both the systems in place and treatment provided to Alex.
“We believe that Alex was badly let down and opportunities were missed to prevent his death. The last thing that the family want, however, is for there to be a loss of confidence in the health services.
“Sara and the children just hope that the lessons are learned to ensure that no one else faces the failings that led to Alex’s death, and that no family has to go through the same pain as they have.” Justine Spencer - Partner
Alex, a program manager from Guildford, collapsed at his daughter’s school prom on 13 May, 2016. He was taken to Royal Surrey County Hospital and after being kept overnight for observation he was discharged the following day.
In the week after being discharged from Royal Surrey County Hospital, Alex was still suffering from ongoing chest pain. After twice attending his GP surgery, Dapdune House Surgery in Guildford, and being seen by the same doctor, no action was taken other than to reassure Alex.
On the 20 May, Alex returned to his GP surgery, this time seen by a different doctor reporting continued chest pain. Alex was prescribed diazepam and it was recommended he relaxed over the weekend.
However, later that day, after Alex had returned home he collapsed again and died. A post mortem examination confirmed Alex died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm.
Coroner Anna Crawford recorded a narrative verdict in which she said Alex underwent a number of observations in Royal Surrey County Hospital but not a CT scan which the court was told was the only effective way of detecting Alex’s torn aorta. The hearing was told a CT scan successfully diagnosed the condition in 70 per cent of cases.
Professor Robin Choudhury, told Woking Coroner’s Court that he believed Alex would have survived long enough to undergo surgery if his condition had been diagnosed.
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