Widow demands enquiry into Chesterfield hospital failures02 April 2003
Failed to spot blood clot on brain
A woman whose husband died after Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Royal Hospital Trust failed to spot a massive blood clot on his brain is demanding an investigation into the hospital's procedures.
Elizabeth Shirtcliffe's husband Brian died on 4 July 2002 at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield after being transferred there from Chesterfield Royal Infirmary. He had collapsed at home on 1 July with what paramedics believed to be a stroke.
In spite of obvious deterioration he did not receive a brain scan until nine hours after arrival at Chesterfield and was not transferred to Sheffield for a further three hours. The consultant radiologist failed to agree to a scan when Brian's condition was obviously deteriorating.
A coroners inquest returned a verdict of death from natural causes contributed to by neglect and said that Mr Shirtcliffe, a father of three, would likely have survived had it not been for the delays. "There was gross failure to provide or procure medical attention to Mr Shirtcliffe", the coroner Mr Dorries said.
Investigation into failures of hospital
Mrs Shirtcliffe has written to local MPs Paul Holmes and Harry Barnes asking them to press for an investigation into the failures of the hospital.
Harry Barnes has now asked health secretary Alan Milburn to investigate the case and take action to ensure that the hospital put procedures in place to prevent a repeat of the "disturbing events revealed by the coroner".
Mrs Shirtcliffe, of Dronfield, said: "Brian's death has been terrible enough, but to know that he could have been alive today if the hospital had acted sooner is absolutely devastating. Something needs to be done and I want answers about why my husband's obviously deteriorating condition was not acted on by the doctors. If I could tell he was so seriously ill then why couldn't they?
"Brian was 56 when he died and he was in very good health until his very sudden collapse. I had no reason to believe that we would not have many years together ahead of us. We had been married for 32 years and were planning our Ruby wedding. I cannot describe how angry I am that he was taken from me through the negligence of medical professionals."
Linda Millband, Mrs Shirtcliffe's lawyer at Thompsons Solicitors said: "The inquest lasted for three days in total, spread over a period of two months, and it must have been very difficult for the family to endure. I think that they withstood the pressure extremely well. The coroner ensured that the cause of death was fully investigated and having heard the evidence there is no doubt in my mind that the verdict was the correct one."
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