Widow Of 67-Year-Old Calling For Lessons To Be Learned
The widow of a Nottinghamshire man who died after a fall in hospital led to a fractured hip and infection is calling for lessons to be learned.
Barry Newton, from Mansfield, was being treated for a lung infection at King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton-In-Ashfield in January 2018 when he began complaining of hallucinations thought to be brought on by antibiotics. Early one morning he was found lying on the floor at the side of his bed, having suffered a fall.
Barry, who had also been diagnosed with leukaemia, underwent an X-ray which identified a fractured left hip. He went on to have surgery but developed several infections, including osteomyelitis and sepsis. He died that September at the age of 67.
Following Barry’s death, his wife Irene instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the events surrounding her husband’s fall.
A Serious Incident Report published by Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs King’s Mill Hospital, found there was “a failure by the nursing staff caring for Barry to recognise and act upon the acute onset of hallucinations and further risk assess based on this new event.” Had staff acted, it “may have prevented” Barry falling, the report added.
Irwin Mitchell’s legal experts have now secured an undisclosed settlement for Barry’s loved ones in connection with the fall and the injuries he suffered. This comes after the Trust admitted a breach of duty in that Barry was administered medication that “causes acute onset of hallucinations” but “no nursing intervention was completed to ensure falls prevention occurred.”
The Trust accepted that, “on the balance of probabilities, appropriate nursing intervention would have prevented” Barry’s fall and “avoided” his hip fracture and subsequent infection, including osteomyelitis.
Expert Opinion“The investigation that was carried out following Barry’s death found worrying failings that resulted in him falling out of bed.
If appropriate measures had been put in place his family believe he wouldn’t have fallen out of bed and wouldn’t have suffered his injuries. In turn Barry wouldn’t have undergone the subsequent procedures and treatment he required at what was already an incredibly difficult time for him and his family.
The infections and operations Barry had greatly impacted on his quality of life. While nothing can make up for what happened we are pleased to have secured his family the answers they deserve. It’s now important that lessons are learned to improve patient safety in the future.”
Rebecca Hall - Solicitor
Barry was admitted to hospital early January 2018 where he was found to have a lung infection and given intravenous antibiotics.
Shortly after, he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia and was told he would start chemotherapy after he was off the antibiotics.
On 22 January, Barry told staff he was experiencing hallucinations and his daughter raised concerns about his hallucinations. Barry was in a private side room at the time.
Early the following morning, Barry fell out of bed and was found lying on the floor. He had fractured his left hip.
He underwent hip surgery at the beginning of February. By 22 February, his wound become infected and he underwent a second operation, followed by a third operation in March.
Barry was discharged home at the end of July with palliative care in place.
Sadly, he continued to deteriorate and was taken to a hospice on 25 September. He died the following day.
Following the investigation into Barry’s death, the report set out recommendations including “a full and accurate assessment of the patient’s activities and behaviour to be monitored and that “all staff to familiarise themselves with the trust guidelines of delirium policy and enhanced patient support pathway.”
Barry, who was previously a brick layer, was married to Irene, for 45 years. Together they had three children. Sadly they lost their eldest child, Nicola, in a road traffic accident when she was 17.
Barry enjoyed football and supported Mansfield Town, Formula 1 and DIY. He and his wife, Irene, loved going on holiday.
Irene, 66, said: “The last two years have been incredibly difficult for us since losing Barry. He was the most loving husband and dad, and always enjoyed spending time with his family.
“After his fall, Barry struggled a lot with the pain, and he was getting infection after infection. It upset us that he was in hospital for so long and was unable to spend valuable time with his family. By the time he got back home, he was very unwell.
“Watching him deteriorate so quickly was heartbreaking but he fought bravely to the end and I will always be proud of him for that.
“While nothing will change what happened, as a family we are grateful that the investigation has brought to light the failings that went on, so that these can be learned from.
“We wouldn’t want anyone else to go through the devastation we have.”