The partner of a Kirkby man who died while receiving treatment for bowel problems says she hopes lessons can be learned from mistakes made by hospital staff.
William Taylor (67), who was known as Paul, died on 28th July last year after being admitted to King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton with persistent diarrhoea and dehydration 25 days earlier.
But his devastated partner of 24 years, Sharon Oakey, was “incredibly disappointed” to hear at an inquest that his life might have been saved if his treatment had been different.
The Nottingham inquest was told that protocols at the hospital were breached because senior doctors were not told of Mr Taylor’s deteriorating illness.
“It was clear that his condition was getting worse extremely fast,” said Sharon (64). “But it wasn’t flagged up to senior staff at the appropriate time, which is hard to understand.
“The past year has been a complete nightmare as we have sought to understand how Paul died. I feel massively let down to know that the hospital’s policy was not followed. I just hope that staff learn from this, so nobody else suffers like Paul did.”
Sharon instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers, Irwin Mitchell, to investigate Mr Taylor’s treatment under the care of Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at King’s Mill. The trust’s own serious incident investigation report concluded that “deterioration was not recognised and escalated to the senior medical team, even though there was a clear policy”. It also criticised record-keeping and made three recommendations of how to improve care.
The coroner, who recorded a narrative verdict, heard that Mr Taylor was admitted to the hospital at the start of July 2014 with a plan to rehydrate him and improve his nutrition.
He developed a deep-vein thrombosis and later suffered bowel problems that caused a severe deterioration in his condition. He was admitted to intensive care because his kidneys were failing and he had vomited copious amounts of coffee-ground fluid. Further investigations revealed faecal contents in his stomach. But despite ongoing treatment, he died the next day.
After the inquest, an apology was issued by the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs King’s Mill Hospital.
Dr Andrew Haynes, executive director at the trust, said: “We are deeply sorry for the shortcomings in care provided to Mr Taylor over the weekend of 26th and 27th July 2014, and the impact this has had on his family and friends. We will be writing to the family to apologise for the missed opportunities for improved end-of-life care, identified by the coroner at the inquest.
“Following a thorough internal investigation, which was praised by the coroner, a detailed action-plan was put in place to improve clinical practices at the trust. The coroner noted the positive changes that have since been made within the surgical and nursing teams. The investigation’s findings have been fully shared and discussed with the family.
“Mr Taylor was seriously ill, requiring emergency surgery, and the coroner recognised there is significant doubt that, with dfifferent treatment, his sad death would have been avoided. Nevertheless, we have learned important lessons from this tragic case and we have implemented measures to reduce the risk of anything similar happening again.”