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Hospital delays responsible for man’s death

Posted in: Medical Negligence Wrongful & Accidental Death 

A coroner has described 63-year-old Mike Martin’s case as “unacceptable” after he had to wait 13 hours in hospital before being taken into surgery, and sadly died during the wait. Mr Martin was taken into Northampton General Hospital in February 2012 after complaining of such severe pain that he could not lie down – he was then left for 13 hours before surgery was available to him.

On Mr Martin’s arrival at the hospital, the A&E registrar diagnosed him as probably suffering from a strangulated hernia and recommended immediate surgery. This, however, was a misdiagnosis as Mr Martin was actually suffering from an aortic aneurysm, a bursting of the main blood vessel to the heart, which could have been stopped by early treatment.  

Big enough table not available

A three-day inquest was carried out concerning the death of Mr Martin, where the coroner heard that a specialist table was not available to accommodate the size of Mr Martin when he required the surgery.  Northampton coroner, Anne Pember, said it was “unacceptable in A&E for this to happen, and subsequent delays in surgery meant there was a lost window of opportunity, which if acted upon, would have increased Mr Martin’s chances of survival”. The inquest also found that upon arrival, Mr Martin was not actually seen by a doctor for five hours.

A spokesperson for the Northampton General Hospital has expressed their “sincere condolences”, apologising to the family of Mr Martin for his poor treatment and subsequent death.

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