Coroner Questioned Trust’s ‘Inappropriate’ Consent Process As He Delivered Verdict Of Natural Causes Recorded After Four-Day Hearing
The family of a father-of-two from Wakefield who died after suffering a brain haemorrhage following treatment with a trial drug have demanded that lessons are learned from an inquest into his death.
Kitchen and bathroom fitter Tim Hancock died aged 48 at Leeds General Infirmary on November 25th 2016, around a week after he was given a trial blood thinning drug and had surgery for a stent to be fitted following a heart attack. Shortly after the procedure he suffered a brain haemorrhage and following a second bleed on the brain days later, he passed away.
A verdict of natural causes was recorded at the inquest into this death held at Wakefield Coroners Court this week, with the hearing outlining how Tim had endured 12 months of serious health problems leading up to his death.
The coroner also asked Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to reconsider how its staff obtain consent from patients to take part in drug trials, after labelling the way they obtained Tim’s consent to enter the trial as ‘inappropriate’.
It was heard that there was a lack of communication between Tim’s GP and Pinderfields Hospital which resulted in blood cultures not being taken. Also, that had the clinicians at Leeds known about the endocarditis they would not have entered him into the drugs trial.
Specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell were instructed by Tim’s family to investigate his case and now, following the conclusion of the inquest, they have revealed their determination to help his loved ones get the justice they deserve.
Rebecca Haigh, the solicitor and medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office who is acting for the family, said:
Expert Opinion“This is a truly devastated case in which a family has lost a much-loved husband and father. This inquest has provided vital information regarding the care that Tim received and we are concerned by a number of issues which have been raised.
“Following the hearing, we are focused on ensuring that Tim’s wife Karen and the rest of his family are able to get justice regarding his death and the issues which led to it. We strongly believe that lessons should be learned and that these problems cannot be repeated in the future.” Rebecca Jones - Associate Solicitor
The inquest heard how Tim had been unwell since around November 2015, when he developed breathlessness, weight loss and sweats. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and given antibiotics, but his symptoms failed to improve. In June, he was diagnosed with mild sarcoidosis and a heart murmur.
Then, in July following an echocardiogram, his GP referred him to a Cardiologist who advised that repeat blood tests and blood cultures were required. No blood cultures were taken and Tim was later told that these were no longer needed. The inquest heard how the blood cultures may have led to a diagnosis of endocarditis, with this then potentially preventing his heart attack, the two haemorrhages and ultimately his death.
Following the inquest, Tim’s wife Karen Hancock, 47, said: “Going through the inquest process has been incredibly difficult, particularly with the findings outlining just how Tim’s death could and perhaps should have been prevented.
“The entire family miss him so much everyday and it is clear that improvements can be made which will ensure no one else suffers like he did. We are now hopeful that we can ensure lessons are learned from what happened to Tim and also get justice regarding his death.”