Whipps Cross Hospital failings led to man’s death before wedding

Whipps Cross Hospital failings led to man's death before wedding

A man died days before his wedding due to serious failings at a hospital in north-east London, an ombudsman ruled.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) said 75-year-old Andy Shewan’s death was “avoidable” and he would have lived had it not been for “multiple failures of care”.

Mr Shewan and June Richards, 80, were set to marry in January 2019 after 40 years as a couple.

Whipps Cross University Hospital’s CEO apologised for the “serious failings”.

Just days before the couple’s wedding, Mr Shewan, who had underlying health problems, complained of feeling unwell and was taken to A&E at Whipps Cross.

‘Immediate deterioration’

His condition worsened and he was transferred to an acute unit, where he suffered a cardiac arrest and died the following day.

Ombudsman Rob Behrens said the hospital had failed to take appropriate action when Mr Shewan’s condition worsened and he was left alone in a side room for more than an hour.

When the monitor indicated an “immediate deterioration”, staff failed to call for an emergency clinician.

The ombudsman said an emergency doctor was only called for after 25 minutes but “they were too junior and did not respond”.

Mr Shewan’s partner was not contacted in time to say goodbye to him, he added.

‘Died in pain’

Ms Richards said: “It’s been three years and I still can’t stop crying.

“He died in pain and on his own. It’s so sad. I didn’t get to say goodbye to him because I thought he would be coming home.

“His death was avoidable; he could’ve still been here. I could have had him for another week, or it could’ve been a month or years. They’ve taken such a lot from me that no-one can give me back,” Ms Richards added.

Mr Berens has made a series of recommendations to Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, including to produce an action plan to ensure the various failings identified will not happen again.

Whipps Cross CEO Ralph Coulbeck said the hospital had apologised unreservedly and paid £10,000 in compensation to Ms Richards.

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