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Coroner Records ‘Accidental Death’ Verdict Following Death Of Stafford Hospital Patient

Family Calls For Lessons To Be Learnt


An inquest has heard how a 61 year old patient died after his bowel was perforated following surgery at Stafford Hospital. Alan Nash underwent a colonoscopy under local anaesthetic but died just hours later on 19th March 2010.

HM Coroner for Staffordshire, Andrew Haigh heard how hospital staff went ahead with the surgery even though Mr Nash told them that he been unable to empty his bowels as requested that morning, prior to undergoing the procedure.

His distraught family described how they believed they heard him shout out in pain as the colonoscopy caused his bowel to burst.  Mr Nash was rushed to theatre for emergency repair surgery and was later taken to the hospital’s Critical Care Unit where he died later that day.  Today’s inquest recorded an ‘accidental death’ verdict.

Stafford Hospital is currently at the centre of a Public Inquiry into the higher than expected number of deaths there between 2005 and 2008.

Emma Rush, a medical law solicitor with law firm, Irwin Mitchell, who is representing the family, said: “As Mr Nash’s death occurred in 2010, after the Trust had pledged to improve patient care, the family are extremely concerned that lessons do not appear to have been learnt at Stafford Hospital. We believe that Mr Nash’s death was entirely avoidable if basic procedures had not been ignored that day.

“We know from an Internal Investigation Report which the Trust carried out following his tragic death that a nurse failed to document the results of the ‘bowel preparation’ prior to the procedure.

 “Although the colonoscopy was carried out to confirm a diagnosis of rectal cancer, Mr Nash’s family firmly believe that he could have responded well to oncology treatment. His untimely death raises a number of urgent questions about the Trust’s failure to learn from previous well documented mistakes at Stafford Hospital. Following today’s inquest the family will be considering its next course of action including civil action against the Trust.”

Mr Nash’s widow, Jenny commented: “The entire family has been devastated by what has happened. Alan was the centre of our family and it’s been so hard to come to terms with the way he died.  I have lost a husband and my daughters have lost a much loved father.

“Following the reports about the high number of avoidable deaths at Stafford Hospital, I really hoped that things had started to improve there. I never imagined that when Alan walked into the hospital that morning, he would never come out and would end up as yet another of their fatal statistics. I’m so angry that nothing appears to have changed and our family has now joined hundreds of others who are needlessly mourning the loss of a loved one because of yet another hospital error.”