The family of a former miner who died after his spleen was ruptured during a routine operation has received £12,000 in compensation.

Alun Stanton from Blaenrhondda in the Rhondda died in May 2005 when he failed to recover from open surgery to repair his spleen ruptured when medical staff inserted a chest drain.

Mr Stanton, 71, was admitted to East Glamorgan Hospital, Pontypridd with pneumonia after complaining about breathlessness.

His wife, two children and two grandchildren were told the chest drain was a routine procedure needed to help him breathe. While Mr Stanton was told to postpone a planned holiday it was believed there was no reason he wouldn’t make a full recovery.

Just a few days later Mr Stanton died. They found out at the inquest that the pneumonia was cured but Mr Stanton had suffered a puncture to his spleen.

Chest drain inserted too low

A pathologist’s report later showed the chest drain had been inserted too low causing the rupture and massive internal bleeding. 

Mr Stanton’s daughter, Roslynn Harding said: “We are certain my father would still be here today had this simple procedure been carried out correctly. It is difficult accepting his death when it was so sudden and knowing that it could have been prevented.

“While we are great supporters of the NHS we wanted to highlight this incident as a warning to other people. Mistakes like this costs lives.”

Mr Stanton’s family instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation after Cwm Taf NHS Trust denied they were responsible for Mr Stanton’s death.

The Trust later admitted liability and formally apologised to the family. The £12,000 settlement includes £10,000 in bereavement compensation and payment of funeral costs.

Anne Osborn from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Mr Stanton’s family have suffered a massive shock, made worse by the fact they had to threaten legal action to get answers. The trust should have been more open with the family from the start. It should have issued an apology and admitted its error much earlier."