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Family Of Man Whose Undiagnosed Neck Fracture Led To Paralysis Hopes For Answers At Inquest

Patrick Byrne’s family repeatedly requested that he be scanned but a neck scan was not done until it was too late


The family of a man who became paralysed whilst he was an inpatient at Bath’s Royal United Hospital hope an inquest into his death will shed light on the quality of the care given to him.

Patrick Byrne had been living independently at his Melksham home when he was admitted to the Royal United Hospital following a fall and with pneumonia on May 23, 2015.

During his admission his neck dropped onto his chest and he was unable to move it, but despite calls from the family to have the issue investigated, staff at the hospital did not scan the 87-year-old’s neck until July 6, at which point he’d become paralysed.

Mr Byrne’s family instructed expert medical negligence lawyers Irwin Mitchell to investigate the octogenarian’s care after it was found he’d suffered a neck fracture which had led to compression of the spinal cord and caused tetraplegia.

Daughter Elizabeth Porter, from Epsom said: “We feel that the standard of care my father received fell well below what should have been expected and not only significantly hastened his death but caused him considerable pain and discomfort in the last few months.

“We feel that if the neck fracture had been diagnosed earlier he could have had treatment which would have avoided the paralysis.”

Mr Byrne never recovered and died on October 21, last year.

An inquest into his death will take place at Avon Coroner’s Court, Flax Bourton, today, and is scheduled to last for two days.

Expert Opinion
“Elizabeth and the rest of Mr Byrne’s family have many questions as yet unanswered regarding his death and have been unable to come to terms with their loss as a result.

“It is hoped that the inquest will provide them with the answers they need to be able to accept what has happened and try to move on as best they can from this tragedy.

“One of the most important things to the family now, is to establish what should have been done to change the outcome of Mr Byrne’s time in hospital and whether lessons have been learned to ensure no one else suffers as he did.”
Kate Easy, Senior Associate Solicitor

Jonathan Peacock, expert medical negligence lawyer and partner at Irwin Mitchell, will be representing the family at the inquest.

If you have lost a loved one due to fatal negligence, we may be able to help you claim compensation. See our Medical Negligence Guide for more information.