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Found 161 results
  1. News Article
    Ministers must intervene over systemic failures which are “too big for hospital or ambulance trusts to fix on their own” and have led to multiple preventable deaths, a senior coroner has warned. In a move usually considered rare for such an official, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly coroner Andrew Cox has written to the Department of Health and Social Care a second time over ongoing delays to ambulance responses and long ambulance handovers in the area. Last year he warned the NHS was “broken” after he ruled ambulance and emergency care delays contributed to the deaths of four people. Now, he has sent a similar report on the same types of failings in the deaths of John Seagrove, Pauline Humphris, and Patricia Steggles at Royal Cornwall Hospital to new health secretary Victoria Atkins. Mr Cox wrote: “I set out in my [prevention of future death report] last year my understanding of the reasons for the difficulties that are continuing in the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly coroner area. I do not believe those reasons will have changed significantly. ”The challenges are systemic in nature. They are too big for a single doctor, nurse or paramedic to fix. They are too big for either the hospital trust or the ambulance trust to fix on their own.” Read full story Source: HSJ, 1 December 2023
  2. Content Article
    Christina Ruse was admitted to the Spire Hospital on 14 December 2021 and underwent a total left hip replacement. Her condition deteriorated and observations were commenced at five minute intervals. Mrs Ruse was reviewed and on further deterioration in her condition it was decided to transfer her to the High Dependency Unit, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. On arrival of the ambulance Mrs Ruse was undergoing a further investigatory procedure. On this being completed Mrs Ruse was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where her condition continued to deteriorate and she died on 15 December 2021.
  3. Content Article
    Barbara Hollis underwent a total left knee replacement operation on 22 February 2022. The surgery was uneventful with no complications, however after her return to the ward Mrs Hollis became restless and confused. Following a review of her deteriorating condition the decision was made to transfer her to the High Dependency Unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Arrangements were made for the transfer and the ambulance service was called at 19.51 and were told that immediate clinical intervention was needed, but the agreed hospital to hospital transfer pathway was not followed. There was a two hour delay in ambulance attendance, during which time Mrs Hollis continued to deteriorate. Mrs Hollis was subsequently taken to the High Dependency Unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where her condition continued to deteriorate and she died in the early hours of the 23 February 2022.
  4. News Article
    Maternity services at Hull Royal Infirmary have recently been described in a damning report by the health watchdog as chaotic, unsafe and not fit for purpose. Three mothers, who claim staff missed signs of life-threatening conditions that could have killed them or their babies, have spoken to the BBC about their harrowing experiences at the hospital. One woman, a BBC journalist who does not want to be named, said she knew her newborn son was seriously ill within minutes of giving birth at the infirmary in 2021. "As soon as they handed him to me, I noticed something was wrong. He was panting and his breathing wasn't right," she said. Over the course of an hour, she said her concerns were dismissed by the newly-qualified midwife who said his breathing was "completely normal". "She kept reassuring me over and over that's how babies breathe. I felt like I was drowning surrounded by lifeguards," she said. But after being examined by a more experienced midwife, the baby was rushed to intensive care and diagnosed with potentially fatal sepsis. "It was like time stood still. The midwife ripped him off me and she slammed an oxygen mask on his face, called the crash team and he was taken away to the neonatal intensive care unit. "The anger I felt was overwhelming because I'd been saying for nearly an hour he was seriously ill. I was right and he had sepsis." A few months after her son's birth, she read about an inquest into the death of a four-day-old baby who had sepsis and was born at Hull Royal Infirmary. A coroner found that midwives had failed to respond to his infection quickly enough. "My blood ran cold because it was exactly the same circumstances that happened to me and that baby died. I thought they clearly haven't learned anything," she said. Read full story Source: BBC News, 6 November 2023
  5. Content Article
    While at Amberley Hall Care Home for rehabilitation, Geoffrey Whatling’s family had raised concerns that he was unwell. He was scored as a 7 on the National Early Warning Score (NEWS2) system on the 8 April 2023. Such a score requires a 999 call to be made, however instead a 111 call was made. The 111 call taker was not made aware of his NEWS2 score. Further observations were carried out on 9 April 2023 (NEWS2 score 6), and 07.00 (NEWS2 score 5) and again on 10 April 2023 at 12.13 (NEWS2 score 9/10), when emergency services were called and Mr Whatling was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Despite treatment his condition continued to deteriorate and he died on 26 April 2023.
  6. News Article
    The parents of a baby boy who died at seven weeks old after a hospital did not give him a routine injection have described the failure as “beyond cruel”. William Moris-Patto was born in July 2020 at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge, where it was recorded in error that he had received a vitamin K injection – which is needed for blood clotting. The shot is routinely given to newborns to prevent a deficiency that can lead to bleeding. His parents, Naomi and Alexander Moris-Patto, 33-year-old scientists from Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, want to raise awareness about the importance of the vitamin after a coroner concluded William would not have died had the hospital administered the injection. On Friday, the coroner Lorna Skinner KC described the omission as “a gross failure in medical care amounting to neglect”. Alexander Moris-Patto, a researcher at the University of Cambridge who recently co-founded William Oak Diagnostics to test for deficiencies in babies, said: “What’s come out of the inquest for me is that the systems they [the trust] put in place to try to prevent this happening again are not satisfactory.” He stressed the importance of the vitamin K injection, adding that about 1% of the UK population opt out of it. “We want people to know more about it, to understand how critical it can be, and for hospitals to take seriously the responsibility they have in those first precious hours of a baby’s life,” he said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 29 October 2023
  7. News Article
    A coroner has found neglect contributed to a baby's death at the hospital where he was born. Jasper Brooks died at the Darent Valley Hospital in Kent on 15 April 2021. The coroner found gross failures by midwives and consultants at the hospital and says Jasper's death was "wholly avoidable". Jasper was a second child for Jim and Phoebe Brooks. Due to a complication during pregnancy of her first child, Phoebe was booked in to have an elective Caesarean section to deliver Jasper. But in April 2021 those plans changed overnight. A check-up found Phoebe had raised blood pressure. She was told to remain in hospital and that the C-section would happen the following morning - nine days earlier than planned - when there were more staff on duty. Jasper's parents say the midwives caring for Phoebe repeatedly failed to listen to her and Jim's concerns - that she was shaking violently, feeling sick, and thought she was bleeding internally. "We felt like an inconvenience - no-one wanted to deal with me that night," Phoebe says. "The doctor didn't want to do my C-section, the midwife that's meant to be looking after me, she just doesn't really care. "I remember saying clearly to her, 'my whole body is shaking - something's happening, and no-one's taking the time to listen to what I'm saying or listen in on my baby'." At the inquest hearing, midwife Jennifer Davis was accused by the family's barrister, Richard Baker KC, of "failing to act on signs of blood loss, failing to determine if Phoebe was in active labour, and failing to call a senior doctor when necessary". Jasper was born without a heartbeat, so a resuscitation team was called. But during the inquest, the family learned that further errors were made because the correct people failed to attend the resuscitation. There was no consultant neonatologist on site - a doctor with expertise in looking after newborn infants or those born prematurely. Intubation, the process of placing a breathing tube into the windpipe - which should only take a few minutes - did not occur for 18 minutes. There was also a delay in administering adrenaline to try to stimulate Jasper's heart. Read full story Source BBC News, 24 October 2023
  8. News Article
    A London coroner has warned the health secretary that preventable child suicides are likely to increase unless the government provides more funding for mental health services. Nadia Persaud, the east London area coroner, told Steve Barclay that the suicide of Allison Aules, 12, in July 2022 highlighted the risk of similar deaths “unless action is taken”. In a damning prevention of future deaths report addressed to Barclay, NHS England and two royal colleges, Persaud said the “under-resourcing of CAMHS [child and adolescent mental health services] contributed to delays in Allison being assessed by the mental health team”. An inquest into Allison’s death last month found that a series of failures by North East London NHS foundation trust (NELFT) contributed to her death. In her report, Persaud said delays and errors that emerged in the inquest exposed wider concerns about funding and recruitment problems in mental health services. “The failings occurred with a children and adolescent mental health service which was significantly under-resourced. Under-resourcing of CAMHS services is not confined to this local trust but is a matter of national concern,” she said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 14 September 2023
  9. News Article
    The family of a young trans woman who is believed to have taken her own life have said she was “failed by those tasked with her care”, as the coroner investigating her death described services for transgender people as “underfunded and insufficiently resourced”. Alice Litman had been waiting to receive gender-affirming healthcare for more than three years when she died in Brighton at the age of 20 in May 2022. Ahead of an inquest which began in Hove on Monday, her mother, Dr Caroline Litman, described Alice’s death as “preventable with access to the right support”. Adjourning the inquest on Wednesday to give a narrative conclusion in two weeks’ time, the coroner Sarah Clarke told the court: “It seems to me that all of these services are underfunded and insufficiently resourced for the level of need that the society we live in now presents". Describing the trans healthcare system as “not fit for purpose”, Alice's family, who are being supported by the Good Law Project, added: “We are grateful that the coroner has agreed that the conditions of Alice’s death warrant a report to prevent future deaths.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 20 September 2023
  10. Content Article
    Harold Pedley, known as Derek, attended his GP surgery during the late afternoon on 21.12.22 and after spending most of that day feeling unwell with symptoms including abdominal pain and vomiting. He was appropriately referred to the hospital and travelled there with his friend after his GP had discussed his case with doctors. Due to a lack of available beds in the assessment unit, Derek needed to remain in the emergency department. Following his arrival at 20.07 hours, doctors were not notified of his attendance. He remained in the emergency department waiting area for almost two hours during which time due to significant pressures faced by the department he was not assessed or spoken to by a medical professional. At 21.59 hours a triage nurse called for him. By then, Derek had been unresponsive for some time and had died, his death confirmed at 22.26 hours. A subsequent post mortem examination revealed he died from the effects of non-survivable extensive small bowel ischaemia caused by a significantly narrowed mesenteric artery. His death was contributed to by heart disease.
  11. News Article
    A coroner has warned that a private hospital is relying on NHS ambulances to transport patients despite “being fully aware” of the pressures on the ambulance service and resulting delays. The warning came at the end of an inquest into a patient who died after a 14-hour wait for an ambulance to transfer him from the private Spire hospital in Norwich to the NHS-run Norfolk and Norwich university hospital a few minutes’ drive away. The last two years have seen a succession of inquests relating to ambulance delays. But in the latest case Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, expressed concerns over Spire hospital’s use of NHS ambulances when complications and emergencies mean its patients need NHS care. “Spire Norwich hospital does not deal with multi-disciplinary and emergency treatment at its hospital and transfers patients requiring such treatment to local acute trusts, usually the Norfolk and Norwich university hospital,” Lake wrote in a prevention of future deaths (PFD) report. “Spire Norwich hospital continues to rely on EEAST [East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust] to transport such patients to the acute hospital, being fully aware of the demands placed on the EEAST generally and the delays which occur as a result.” Research suggests that nearly 600 patients were urgently transferred from private healthcare to NHS emergency care in the year to June 2021 across the UK – around one in a thousand private healthcare patients. But previous analysis by the Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI) thinktank found that some private hospitals were transferring more than one in every 250 of their inpatients to NHS hospitals. ‘“Transferring unwell patients from a private hospital to an NHS hospital is a known patient safety risk which all patients treated in the private sector face – including the increased numbers of NHS patients who are now being treated in private hospitals because of government policy,” said David Rowland, director of the CHPI. “And despite numerous tragedies and despite the fact that politicians and regulators are fully aware of this risk, nothing has been done to address it.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 23 September 2023
  12. Content Article
     On 3 August 2022, Geoffrey Hoad underwent a total hip replacement at The Spire Hospital. On 5 August 2022, Mr Hoad was diagnosed with a paralytic ileus and some respiratory compromise with gradually deteriorating renal function. On 6 August 2022, Mr Hoad’s transfer to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital was agreed due to possible bowel obstruction, possible pulmonary infection and deteriorating renal function.   Ambulance service was called at 18:16 hours and again at 23.45. On 7 August 2022, the ambulance service was called again at 07.38 hours. The ambulance was on scene at 08:26 hours.         The medical cause of death was: 1a) Sub Acute Myocardial Infarction 1b)  Coronary Artery Atherosclerosis 2) Hospital Admission for Post Operative lieus.
  13. Content Article
    Harry's Story is a website set up by Derek Richford, the grandfather of Harry Richford, who died in November 2017 at just a week old following failures in care during and after his birth. The site outlines how Harry's family worked tirelessly to uncover what happened to Harry and the poor standard of care at the maternity unit at East Kent University Hospitals Foundation Trust (EKUHFT). It covers the following aspects of the family's experience: Our Investigation The Inquest Cover Up? - You Decide HSIB Involvement What Happened Next The Kirkup Inquiry Accountability Harry's Legacy The site also contains a section offering advice for parents whose babies die or suffer harm in hospital during the perinatal period.
  14. Content Article
    On 3 August 2022 an investigation was carried out into the death of Allison Vivian Jacome Aules. Allison was 12 years old when she passed away on the 19 July 2022. The investigation concluded at the end of the inquest on the 17 August 2023. The conclusion was that Allison died as a result of suicide, contributed to by neglect.
  15. News Article
    A coroner has strongly criticised a mental health trust for failing to investigate serious incidents promptly. Tees Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust has been told that delays in probing serious incidents may “compromise the quality” of these investigations and hence “their value in preventing deaths”. The warnings, from Jeremy Chipperfield, senior coroner for County Durham and Darlington, come amid an ongoing inquest into the death of TEWV patient Ian Darwin. Mr Darwin died aged 42 in March, and the serious incident review into his death is still ongoing. A recently published prevention of future deaths report relating to Mr Darwin’s death said TEWV’s serious incident death investigations, “at all levels of seriousness, are routinely (if not invariably) significantly delayed and I understand there is no expectation of immediate, or any timetable for eventual rectification”. “In permitting delay of ‘serious incident’ investigations, TEWV may permit lethal hazard to persist for longer than necessary, and compromise the quality of such investigations and hence their value in preventing avoidable deaths.”
  16. Content Article
    On 7 March 2023 the coroner commenced an investigation into the death of Ian Darwin, aged 42. The investigation has not yet concluded and the inquest has not yet been heard. However, during the course of the investigation the inquiries revealed matters giving rise to concern. The coroner concluded that in his opinion there is a risk that future deaths could occur unless action is taken.
  17. News Article
    The family of a student who died after hospital staff missed that she had developed sepsis despite a string of warning signs have claimed she was the victim of a “lack of care”, as a coroner ruled there were “gross” failures in her treatment. Staff at Southmead hospital in Bristol failed to carry out the sepsis screening and observations needed to keep 20-year-old Maddy Lawrence safe after she was taken to hospital with a dislocated hip sustained in a rugby tackle. Outside court, the student’s mother, Karen Lawrence, said: “It has been a constant struggle to understand how a healthy, strong and fit 20-year-old could lose her life to sepsis which was allowed to develop under the care of professionals. “Her screams of pain and our pleas for help were merely managed, temporarily quietened with painkillers while the infection progressed unnoticed by hospital staff. “Our daughter was failed by a number of nurses and medical staff; symptoms were ignored, observations were not taken, on one occasion for 16 hours. There was no curiosity, basic tests were not completed even when hospital policy required them. “Maddy herself expressed concern on multiple occasions but her pain was not being taken seriously. As well as failing to fulfil their duty, those nurses and medical staff offered no sympathy, no compassion and little attention. “This failure meant Maddy was not given the chance to beat sepsis. Significant delays in its discovery meant the crucial window for treatment was missed. Maddy did not die due to under-staffing or a lack of money. Her death was the result of a lack of care.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 8 September 2023
  18. News Article
    Dozens of young autistic people have died after serious failings in their care despite repeated warnings from coroners, BBC News has found. Their investigation found issues that were flagged a decade ago are still being warned about now. Two bereaved mothers said lessons had not been learned by their local health authority after the deaths of their teenage sons, two years apart. The coroner who oversaw both cases, noted a repeated failure in care. After the first death, the coroner criticised NHS Kent and Medway for "inadequate support" and said a similar incident may happen if this continued. Two years later, the second autistic teenager died under the care of the same authority. The same coroner found that had the victim received the recommended level of care, he might have got the therapy he needed. In the first piece of research of its kind, the BBC combed through more than 4,000 Prevention of Future Death (PFD) notices delivered in England and Wales over the past 10 years. Read full story Source: BBC News, 7 September 2023
  19. Content Article
    Following the Lucy Letby case, letters to the Times discuss workplace rights and safety in hospitals. Keith Conradi, former chief investigator, Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, highlights a current NHS workforce too frightened to raise safety concerns, working in a toxic and bullying culture, where the predominance of HR approaches undermine the culture of safety. And Andrew Harris, professor of coronial law, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Marys University London, writes that there is a duty on medical practitioners to report the circumstances of a death and not to limit disclosure to avoid investigation. In his letter he questions whether medical examiners across the country are acting independently of their trusts and properly notifying such cases.
  20. Content Article
    On the 20 February 2019 an investigation commenced into the death of Bethan Naomi Harris who was born on the 16 November 2018 at the St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Bethan Naomi Harris died at Shooting Star Hospice on the 26 November 2018. Her mother's pregnancy had been uneventful. After admission to labour ward labour progressed very quickly indeed and Bethan sustained severe brain injury during delivery. Despite best efforts by the neonatal team she succumbed to her injuries. The Investigation concluded at the end of the Inquest on the 19 November 2019. The conclusion of the inquest was that the medical cause of Bethan's death was (1a) hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy.
  21. News Article
    Medical neglect and “gross failures” by a mental health trust contributed to the suicide of a 12-year-old girl in a case that has highlighted national concerns about underfunding, a coroner has ruled. Allison Aules from Redbridge, in north-east London, died in July last year after her mood changed completely during the Covid lockdown, her family told the inquest at an east London coroner’s court. At the conclusion of the inquest, the area coroner Nadia Persaud highlighted a series of failures by North East London NHS foundation trust (NELFT) that contributed to her death. In a narrative verdict she ruled it was a “suicide contributed to by neglect”. Persaud also said failures in Allison’s care raised wider national issues about under-resourcing and “outstanding concerns” about the lack of consultant psychiatrists. These will be addressed later in a prevention of future deaths report. Persaud told the court: “There are national concerns around children and adolescent mental health services … and I’m also going to write a report at the national level to reduce the risk of this happening again.” Persaud said Allison’s case showed “both operational failures of individual practitioners and systemic failings on behalf of the trust”. She added: “This was on a backdrop of a very under-resourced service.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 17 August 2023
  22. News Article
    Coroners have warned of increasing numbers of deaths caused by problems in the emergency pathway, with some citing ‘severe’ staffing shortages. HSJ has identified that at least 24 “prevention of future death” reports were sent to NHS organisations in England and Wales in the first half of 2023, which noted shortcomings within emergency services. In six of the 24 cases, coroners found ambulance, emergency room and other delays caused or contributed to patient deaths. Read full story Source: HSJ 1 August 2023
  23. News Article
    Serious systemic failings contributed to the death of a newborn baby in a cell at Europe’s largest women’s prison, a coroner has concluded. Rianna Cleary, who was 18 at the time, gave birth to her daughter Aisha alone in her prison cell at HMP Bronzefield, in Surrey, on the night of 26 September 2019. The care-leaver was on remand awaiting sentence after pleading guilty to a robbery charge. The inquest into the baby’s death heard that Cleary’s calls for help when she was in labour were ignored, she was left alone in her cell for 12 hours and bit through the umbilical cord to cut it. In a devastating witness statement read to the court, Cleary described going into labour alone as “the worst and most terrifying and degrading experience of my life”. She said: “I didn’t know when I was due to give birth. I was in really serious pain. I went to the buzzer and asked for a nurse or an ambulance twice.” Cleary passed out and when she woke up she had given birth. The senior coroner for Surrey, Richard Travers, said Aisha “arrived into the world in the most harrowing of circumstances”. He concluded it was “unascertained” whether she was born alive and died shortly after or was stillborn. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 28 July 2023
  24. Content Article
    Coroners, who hold inquests to determine the causes of unnatural deaths in England and Wales, having recognised factors that could cause other deaths, are legally obliged to signal concerns by sending ‘Reports to Prevent Future Deaths’ (PFDs) to interested persons. This systematic review in Pharmaceutical Medicine aimed to establish whether Coroners’ concerns about medications are widely recognised. The authors found that PFDs related to medicines are not widely referred to in medical journals or UK national newspapers. By contrast, the Australian and New Zealand National Coronial Information System has contributed cases to 206 publications cited in PubMed, of which 139 are related to medicines. The research suggests that information from English and Welsh Coroners’ PFDs is under-recognised, even though it should inform public health. The results of inquiries by Coroners and medical examiners worldwide into potentially preventable deaths involving medicines should be used to strengthen the safety of medicines.
  25. News Article
    Ministers are backing a potentially “dangerous” new model allowing police to reduce their response to mental health incidents after failing to formally assess the risk of harm or death. Officials are monitoring any “adverse incomes” from the National Partnership Agreement, which will see police forces stop attending health calls unless there is a safety risk or a crime being committed. Policing minister Chris Philp said a pilot by Humberside Police gave him confidence in national roll-out, which aims to “make sure that people suffering mental health crisis get a health response and not a police response”. Mental health charities and experts have warned the plans could be “dangerous”, and a coroner raised the alarm following a woman’s suicide after police failed to respond to her disappearance. A report published last month said action was needed to prevent future deaths, warning that the new model could “allow each agency to regard such a situation as the other’s responsibility, whilst nobody is on the ground attempting to retrieve a seriously ill patient”. Read full story Source: The Independent, 26 July 2023
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