S J Edney solicitors were instructed to represent the family of an elderly lady (‘H’) who was in her 80’s, in connection with an Inquest touching upon her death and subsequent medical negligence claim.

The Facts

H had an enterocutaneous abdominal fistula secondary to earlier laparotomy surgeries. In early 2016 her fistula had progressed to the discharge of bowel content. Later that year, H was seen in the outpatient clinic at St George’s Hospital, London, and added to the waiting list for surgical repair.

H ought then to have been called for pre-operative assessment later in 2016, however, due to administrative errors on the hospital’s part, this did not occur and H was removed from the waiting list without being informed.

In early 2017, H’s GP realised the mistake and re-referred H to the Hospital.

H should have been reinstated on the surgical waiting list at the same place she would have been before her removal. However, due to further administrative error, this did not occur. Instead, she was called for an outpatient appointment and placed upon the list anew after that.

H was finally called for pre-operative assessment in June 2017, some 8 months after this assessment ought to have taken place. By that stage, she had suffered clinical deterioration due to her body’s inability to sufficiently absorb nutrients from her diet as a result of the fistula. Whilst these signs were found at the time of her eventual pre-operative assessment in June 2017, they were not acted upon and so she lost the opportunity for her health to be optimised prior to surgery.

H eventually had surgery in August 2017 at St Georges Hospital. Following her surgery, she suffered post-operative complications in part due to her clinical deterioration over the time that she had waited for the surgery to take place.

A week after her surgery, H suffered a rupture of the anastomosis of her bowel. Whilst this was conservatively managed, there was delay in both the initiation of Total Parenteral Nutrition (to ensure adequate nutrition) and the insertion of a suitable drain to deal with the discharge from this rupture.

Despite ongoing treatment, H sadly continued to deteriorate and palliative care was commenced. H died the following month.

The Coroner’s Findings: –

We acted for H’s family at the three-day Inquest. The Coroner found that H’s death was caused or contributed to by neglect on the part of the Hospital.

The Clinical Negligence Claim: –

We were able to secure £75,000 in compensation on behalf of H’s estate during 2019.

If you would like to make a claim for hospital or care home negligence, please do contact us, we have represented clients in many elderly neglect cases and may be able to help you claim compensation. You can see our other related elderly care cases here.