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Hospital Deaths Statistics ‘Should Lead To Careful Assessment’

New Figures Raise Concerns Over Deaths From Starvation And Thirst


A medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell has called on the NHS to do all it can to ensure patients receive the vital help and support that they need, after worrying new figures revealed more than 150 died as a result of either starvation or thirst while in hospital.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics found that 43 people starved to death while 111 died of thirst across 2011, while 29 people in care homes also died as a result of the same issues over the period analysed.

Concerns were also raised about the number of people recorded as malnourished, dehydrated and suffering from septicaemia – which is regularly linked to infected wounds – when they passed away in hospitals. Bedsores were also linked to 78 hospital and 39 care home deaths.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Medical Law and Patients’ Rights team have vast expertise in helping victims of substandard care, as well as the families of people who have passed away as a result of such problems, to gain justice over the ordeals they have endured.

Angela Kirtley, a Partner who specialises in medical negligence cases at the law firm’s Newcastle office, said: “While it must be remembered in some cases that problems with care are not likely to be behind a death from starvation or thirst, it is vital that each and every one of these occurrences is carefully assessed and reviewed.

“Efforts must be made to ensure any failings which may be identified can be acted upon so no other patients face similar issues.

“Through our work, we have sadly seen instances when failings in treatment or care have led to these kinds of problems and have worked hard to ensure that the families of such victims get answers over what their loved ones have endured.

“Behind each and every statistic are patients and families whose lives are devastated by these types of problems. Reassurances are clearly needed that lessons will be learned