Report Calling For Action To Prevent Future Deaths Published After Dad-Of-Five Died From Sepsis
The widow of a Berkshire man who died after a delay in diagnosing his leaking bowel led to him developing sepsis, has welcomed the release of a new report into his death.
Simon Healey, from Finchampstead, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in June 2017 and underwent routine surgery at the Berkshire Independent Hospital at the start of August that year. However, while his condition began to deteriorate, no action was initially taken to escalate the problems.
Around six days after the surgery the father-of-five was then diagnosed with a leaking bowel and sepsis. Despite treatment, he died aged 60 on 10 August, 2017, from multiple organ failure caused by septic shock.
Following Simon’s death his wife Alison, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his care under Ramsey Healthcare UK, which runs the Berkshire Independent Hospital.
Coroner Heidi Connor recorded a narrative conclusion at an inquest last year ruling that proper reviews could have led to earlier intervention and may have prevented Simon’s death.
A Prevention of Future Deaths report issued by the coroner has now been published. The report has called for a review of how private hospitals nationally interpret and use National Early Warning Scores (NEWS). The system designed by the Royal College of Physicians uses patients’ vital signs to quickly detect and respond to deterioration in a person’s condition and is widely used across the NHS.
Following publication of the report, Alison and her legal team are urging that its recommendations are carefully followed to improve patient care.
Expert Opinion“Two years on from Simon’s death, Alison and the rest of the family are understandably still devastated by his death and the events leading up to it.
“Many questions have been raised regarding the care Simon received in the final days of his life and this new report has put a clear spotlight on how matters need to be improved going forward.
“We are continuing to support Alison and her family and join her in welcoming the coroner’s report. While nothing will make up for Simon’s death we hope that the report reinforces the need for lessons to be learned and how important it is for health companies across the country to examine their policies and introduce new measures to improve patient care if necessary.” Rebecca Brown - Senior Associate
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Following Simon’s surgery no complications were initially recorded. However, over the coming days his condition deteriorated, but no action to escalate his care was taken by either the nursing staff or his treating consultant, last December’s inquest was told.
It was not until six days after his operation until Simon was diagnosed with a leaking bowel and sepsis. Despite surgery to repair the leak, his condition continued to deteriorate. He died three days later.
As well as a national review of NEWS policies in private hospital the coroner’s report said a review into whether private hospitals should be able to undertake procedures without specialised nurses or facilities to escalate care should be carried out.
The coroner also criticised Berkshire Independent Hospital for its “inadequate” investigation into Simon’s death, adding it “will not learn from sad cases like this if their own investigations are inadequate.”
Alison said: “While nothing will ultimately change what we as a family have gone through and continue to going through, the publication of this report is a very welcome step forward in relation to Simon’s death. We believe it highlights clear issues that the hospital can learn from to ensure that no one suffers in the future.
“We all miss Simon so much and not a day goes by when I do not think about him. It was horrible to see how his health deteriorated in those final days and it simply cannot be allowed to happen again.
“Patient safety should always be a priority and standards must improve.”