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Found 20 results
  1. Content Article
    I believe all clinicians should read this latest report. There is so much to be learned and so many changes in clinical practice that can be made right away. Since 2018, I have been teaching using Oliver's tragic story to promote reflection on best practice in prescribing and in implementing the Mental Capacity Act. I could write a lot here; however, I believe this is a report all clinicians, and especially all prescribers, need to read in full. A summary of how I see this (or indeed how any individual sees it) it will not be adequate.
  2. News Article
    The parents of a three-year-old boy whose death was part of an alleged NHS cover-up have won a six year battle for the truth about how he died. Shropshire coroner John Ellery backed the parents of three-year-old Jonnie Meek in a second inquest into his death on Thursday and rejected evidence from nurses about what happened at Stafford Hospital in August 2014. Jonnie, who was born with rare congenital disability De Grouchy syndrome, died two hours after being admitted to hospital to trial a new feed which was being fed directly into his stomach. His parents, John Meek and April Keeling, from Cannock in Staffordshire, have always maintained their son died after a reaction to the milk feed caused him to vomit and suffocate. But they have been forced to battle what they believe was an attempt to hide what happened after they discovered attempts to alter their son’s medical history with claims he had experienced several cardiac arrests requiring resuscitation which never happened. In 2015, healthcare assistant Lauren Tew, who was with Jonnie and his mother when he died, told the HSJ that a statement in her name submitted to a child death overview panel stating Jonnie had died from a sudden cardiac arrest was false and she had never made such a statement. Another statement said Jonnie had been admitted to hospital for three weeks months before his death which also never happened. After his parents exposed the false statements an independent inquiry was launched, with three independent experts agreeing with Jonnie’s parents, and in April last year the High Court quashed the original inquest verdict that Jonnie died of natural causes and pneumonia. Speaking to The Independent Jonnie’s father said: “This does bring us some peace after six years. For the coroner to say he believes April over the nurses after all this time is a big weight lifted off her. “The hospital definitely decided to try and cover up what happened to Jonnie. We have always said we knew what happened and this has been a massive waste of resources. I am still very concerned about how these things can happen in the first place.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 15 October 2020
  3. News Article
    As she lay dying in a Joliette, Que., hospital bed, an Atikamekw woman clicked her phone on and broadcast a Facebook Live video appearing to show her being insulted and sworn at by hospital staff. Joyce Echaquan's death on Monday prompted an immediate outcry from her home community of Manawan, about 250 kilometres north of Montreal, and has spurred unusually quick and decisive action on the part of the provincial government. The mother of seven's death will be the subject of a coroner's inquiry and an administrative probe, the Quebec government said today. A nurse who was involved in her treatment has been dismissed. But that dismissal doesn't ease the pain of Echaquan's husband, Carol Dubé, whose voice trembled with emotion as he told Radio-Canada his wife went to the hospital with a stomach ache on Saturday and "two days later, she died." Echaquan's relatives told Radio-Canada she had a history of heart problems and felt she was being given too much morphine. In the video viewed by CBC News, the 37-year-old is heard screaming in distress and repeatedly calling for help. Eventually, her video picks up the voices of staff members. One hospital staff member tells her, "You're stupid as hell." Another is heard saying Echaquan made bad life choices and asking her what her children would say if they saw her in that state. Dubé said it's clear hospital staff were degrading his wife and he doesn't understand how something like this could happen in 2020. Read full story Source: CBC News, 29 September 2020
  4. News Article
    Inquest finds Susan Warby, 57, received insulin she did not need after blood test mistakes. Hospital errors contributed to her death five weeks after bowel surgery, an inquest into her death has concluded. Susan Warby, 57, who died at West Suffolk hospital in Bury St Edmunds, was incorrectly given glucose instead of saline through an arterial line that remained in place for 36 hours and resulted in inaccurate blood test readings. She was subsequently given insulin she did not need, causing bouts of extremely low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and the development of “a brain injury of uncertain severity”, recorded Suffolk’s senior coroner, Nigel Parsley. Speaking after the inquest was adjourned in January, Susan's husband, Jon Warby, said he was “knocked sideways completely” when he received an anonymous letter two months after her death highlighting blunders in her treatment. Doctors at the hospital were reportedly asked for fingerprints as part of the hospital’s investigation into the letter, a move described by a Unison trade union official as a “witch-hunt” designed to identify the whistleblower. Following January’s adjournment, Parsley instructed an independent expert to review the care that Warby received. Warby’s medical cause of death was recorded as multi-organ failure, with contributory causes including septicaemia, pneumonia and perforated diverticular disease, affecting the bowel. Recording a narrative conclusion, Parsley wrote: “Susan Warby died as the result of the progression of a naturally occurring illness, contributed to by unnecessary insulin treatment caused by erroneous blood test results. This, in combination with her other comorbidities, reduced her physiological reserves to fight her naturally occurring illness.” Jon Warby said in a statement: “The past two years have been incredibly difficult since losing Sue, and it is still a real struggle to come to terms with her no longer being here. The inquest has been a highly distressing time for our family, having to relive how Sue died, but we are grateful that it is over and we now have some answers as to what happened." “After learning of the errors in Sue’s care, I wanted to know how these occurred and what action was being taken to prevent any similar incidents in the future. The trust has now made a number of changes which I am pleased about.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 7 September 2020
  5. Content Article
    Yesterday, Health Service Journal (HSJ) reported that the London Ambulance Service (LAS) NHS Trust is now looking into alternative defibrillators after receiving two warnings from Coroners Prevention of Future Deaths (PFD) reports due to problems with their existing machines.[1] PFD reports are issued when, in the coroner’s opinion, the case they are reviewing requires action to be taken in order to prevent future deaths.[2] Delays in defibrillation The reports in question relate to the deaths of Najeeb Katende in 2016 and Mitica Marin in 2019.[3] In both cases, an issue had occurred when using the LP15 defibrillator, which had been started in ‘manual’ rather than ‘automatic’ mode. This resulted in the paramedic not initially realising the patient had a shockable heart rhythm and led to a delay before the first shock was administered. If the defibrillator had initially been in ‘automatic’ mode it would have detected a rhythm and prompted the paramedic to shock the patient. In the coroner’s report into the death of Mitica Marin, it was noted that LAS had carried out a review of cases of delayed defibrillation with the LP15 and recognised that this specific machine “defaults to manual mode requiring the user to switch to automatic mode before use”.[4] Garrett Emmerson, LAS Chief Executive, noted that they were now taking a series of actions to address this, “including putting warning stickers on the defibrillators and staff refresher training on how to use the machines”.[1] Preventing future deaths While this case focuses a specific safety in use issue concerning the LP15 defibrillator, it also serves to highlight the broader issue we have previously raised at Patient Safety Learning; failure to harness learning from PFD reports. We believe that by learning from PFD reports, patient safety can be improved and the reports can achieve their aim of preventing future deaths.[5] One of our concerns in this regard is that learnings from PFD reports may be applicable beyond the organisation, however at present there appears to be no clear system of sharing learning more widely. We are pleased that LAS has identified this safety issue, however it is vital that this information is now widely shared so others can also take action to manage the risks to patients. If the concerns identified in PFD reports remain in silos, there is a danger that this could reoccur in a different trust. At Patient Safety Learning, we believe there are a number of actions which could be taken to help address the current gaps in the system. Please refer to our previous blog on Learning from PFD reports to see these actions in detail. References 1. HSJ, Patient deaths prompt ambulance chiefs to look for alternative defibrillators, 10 August 2020. 2. The Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013, SI 2013/1629. 3. Edwin Buckett, Prevention of Future Deaths Report – Najeeb Katende, 21 April 2017. 4. Graeme Irvin, Prevention of Future Deaths Report – Mitica Marin, 12 March 2020. 5. Patient Safety Learning, Learning from Prevention of Future Deaths reports, 25 February 2020.
  6. News Article
    Ambulance chiefs are looking at alternative defibrillators after coroners highlighted confusion over how to correctly use their existing machines. London Ambulance Service (LAS) Trust has received two warnings from coroners since 2016 after the delayed use of Lifepak 15 defibrillators “significantly reduced” the chances of survival for patients, including a 15-year-old boy. Coroners found some paramedics were unaware the machines had to be switched from the default “manual” mode to an “automatic” setting. The first warning came after the death of teenager Najeeb Katende in October 2016. A report by coroner Edwin Buckett said the paramedic who arrived had started the defibrillator in manual mode and did not detect a heart rhythm that was appropriate for administering the device, so it was not used until an advanced paramedic arrived on scene 24 minutes later. The report stated the defibrillator had been started in manual mode but it needed to be switched to automatic to detect a shockable heart rhythm. The coroner warned LAS that further deaths could occur if action was not taken to prevent similar confusion. But another warning was issued to the LAS in March this year, following the death of 35-year-old Mitica Marin. Again, a coroner found the paramedic, who was on her first solo shift, had started the machine in manual mode and had not detected a shockable rhythm. It was suggested this caused a four minute delay in the shock being administered. Coroner Graeme Irvine said this was “not an isolated incident” for LAS and noted the trust had reviewed other cases of delayed defibrillation. They found that the defibrillator’s manual default setting was a “contributing factor” to the delays. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 10 August 2020
  7. News Article
    Five NHS trusts in the South West have been ordered to make immediate improvements after the death of a 20-year-old prisoner who needed healthcare. Lewis Francis was arrested in Wells, Somerset, in 2017 after stabbing his mother while “acutely psychotic” and taken into custody. Although his condition mandated a transfer to a medium secure mental health hospital, there was “no mechanism” in place to move Mr Francis and he was taken to prison, where he died by suicide two days later, according to a coroner. Contributory factors to his death included “insufficient collaboration, communication and ownership between and within organisations… together with insufficient knowledge of… the Mental Health Act,” according to Nicholas Rheinberg, the assistant coroner for Exeter and Greater Devon. In a Prevention of Future Deaths report, Mr Rheinberg said a memorandum of understanding was in place for the transfer of “mentally ill prisoners direct from police custody” in the West Midlands, and he called on the South West Provider Collaborative to agree a similar deal with “relevant organisations and agencies”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 14 July 2020
  8. Content Article
    This regulation 28 is around testing of patient call bells in care homes. Questions: Have you got a system for checking call bells where you work? Are the call bells always in reach of the patient?
  9. Community Post
    Hi All, I was looking through a recent coroners case ( https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Julie-Taylor-2019-0454.pdf ) Where a learning disability patient deteriorated while in an acute care setting. One of the recommendations was that the Trust should have used a 'reasonable adjustment care plan'. I haven't heard or seen one of these before. So I had a quick look on the internet and found this. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/sps/media/cipold_presentations/workshop3presentation1-linda-swann.pdf Does anyone else use a care plan that they wouldn't mind sharing? Thanks - Claire
  10. Content Article
    What are PFD reports? There is a statutory duty for coroners to issue a PFD report to any person or organisation where, in the coroner’s opinion, action should be taken to prevent future deaths. These reports are made publicly available on the Coroners Tribunals and Judiciary website with the organisations involved having a duty to respond within 56 days. When serious incidents occur in healthcare that result in the death of a patient, PFD reports play a key role in identifying what went wrong and the actions needed to prevent this reoccurring. These crucial insights may often be applicable beyond the organisation in which this took place and provide a point of wider system learning. Implementing actions and sharing learning While these reports provide a wealth of information, the key challenge is ensuring that we utilise these to their full extent to improve patient safety and care. At Patient Safety Learning while we recognise the important role these reports have to play, we have some concerns about how they are currently acted on. Implementing actions When actions are requested by the coroner, it is not clear under the current system whether there is a structured process, either at a national or individual organisation level, for monitoring the actions implemented in response to the PFD report. There is also an open question about who is held accountable if the actions requested are not fully implemented, or if the response taken is ineffective. It is difficult to assess how healthcare providers go about this as there appears to be no specific system of monitoring this at a national level. Sharing learning As noted earlier, often the learnings from PFD reports may be applicable beyond the organisation involved. However, at present there appears to be no clear system of sharing these outcomes more widely. Although these reports are published online, they are not in an easily searchable or shareable format and it is difficult to draw out common themes, actions and responses. Furthermore, it is not clear whether NHS England and NHS Improvement undertake any central trend analysis or review to draw out common themes that may be applicable to all organisations, in the same way that the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch does when it publishes its investigation reports. What do we want to see? We have recently written to the Chief Coroner, Judge Mark Lucraft QC, to raise these issues. We have also drawn this to the attention of Dr Alan Fletcher, the National Medical Examiner. As the new National Medical Examiner system is currently being rolled out across England and Wales, their role in ‘ensuring proper scrutiny of all non-coronial deaths’ will be complementary to the current PFD system. We feel it is important that coroners and medical examiners take a consistent approach to reporting and sharing learnings as widely as possible. When we receive responses, we will take this up directly with NHS England and NHS Improvement, and other national bodies with responsibility for patient safety, along with our ideas of actions that we feel could help to address the current gaps in the system: Implementing actions 1) Analyse reports – Sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs)/Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) to carry out annual thematic reviews of all PFD reports, Serious Incident (SI) reports and associated safety action plans. These plans can inform future commissioning, safety action plans and Care Quality Commission oversight. 2) National oversight – put in place a clear system of national oversight. Shared learning 3) Increase transparency – make all PFD reports, SI reports and their associated safety action plans available in the public domain. 4) Improve accessibility – create a central repository for all PFD reports, SI reports and associated safety action plans in one database searchable by actions and themes. 5) Standards – put in place patient safety standards for each STP and ICS, with requirements on individual trusts, primary care networks and service providers to share learning from these reports. 6) Publish an annual report – on PFD reports and SI reports including themes for learning and action.
  11. News Article
    An 87-year-old woman died after her carers gave her the wrong medication, a coroner was told. Heather Planner, from Butler's Cross in Buckinghamshire, died at Wycombe Hospital on 1 April from a stroke. Senior coroner Crispin Butler heard three staff from Carewatch Mid Bucks had failed to spot tablets handed over by the pharmacy were for a male patient. Mr Butler said action should be taken to prevent similar deaths. A hearing in Beaconsfield on Thursday, where he issued a Prevention of Future Deaths report, followed an inquest in November. In the report he said he was told at the inquest that the carers from Carewatch Mid Bucks gave widow Mrs Planner the wrong medication four times a day for two and a half days. She suffered a fatal stroke because she did not receive her proper apixaban anticoagulation medication. Mr Butler said he would send his concerns to the chief coroner and the Care Quality Commission. He said there was no procedure in place to ensure individual carers read and specifically acknowledged any medication changes. Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 February 2020
  12. Content Article
    The report by INQUEST sets out the following recommendations to improve safety and prevent future deaths: 1. Halt prison building, commit to an immediate reduction in the prison population and divert people away from the criminal justice system. 2. Prison staff, including healthcare staff, require improved training to meet minimum human rights standards to ensure the health, well-being and safety of prisoners. 3. Ensure access to justice for bereaved families through the provision of automatic non-means tested legal aid funding for specialist legal representation to cover preparation and representation at the inquest and other legal processes. Funding should be equivalent to that of the state bodies/public authorities and corporate bodies represented. 4. Establish a ‘National Oversight Mechanism’ – a new and independent body tasked with the duty to collate, analyse and monitor learning and implementation arising out of post death investigations, inquiries and inquests. This body must be accountable to parliament to ensure the advantage of parliamentary oversight and debate. It should provide a role for bereaved families and community groups to voice concerns and provide a mandate for its work. 5. Ensure accountability for institutional failings that lead to deaths in prison. For example, full consideration should be given to prosecutions under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, where ongoing failures are identified and the prison service and health providers have been forewarned. The reintroduction of The Public Authority (Accountability) Bill would also establish a statutory duty of candour on state authorities and officers and private entities.
  13. Content Article
    The presentation covered: Family liaison within the NHS. The role of family liaison. Supporting and working with families and/or carers-what do they want and/or need? What type of cases can family liaison handle and where they can’t support a family/carer. A case study.
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