Advising with empathy and experience

Families accept damages over Nottingham NHS endoscopy deaths

The families of three patients who died after having the same specialised endoscopy procedure have accepted damages from an NHS trust.

The patients all died after having an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) carried out at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Following their deaths, assistant coroner for Nottinghamshire, Laurinda Bower, issued a prevention of future deaths report calling for changes. The Trust says these have now been made.

William Doleman, 76, Anita Burkey, 85, Peter Sellars, 72, died within around six months after undergoing the procedures.

An inquest found they died as a result of complications with the ERCP, where a tube is passed through a patient's throat to examine and treat possible gallstones and other conditions.

The families said they had accepted undisclosed damages from the Trust over the deaths.

Tonette Doleman, 77, wife of William Doleman, said: "It was never about the compensation. I can't make sense of it. It's hurtful when you think of all the wrongs that were done. I know that nobody is perfect and people do make mistakes but please take more care. This is a person you're dealing with and a person's family.

David Burkey, 64, son of Anita Burkey from Long Eaton, Derbyshire, who died in April 2020, said he did not believe the risks had ever been properly explained to her prior before the procedure.

He said: "The lack of communication was really concerning. We always told mum she was in the right place, in the hospital, where they know what they are doing, and we feel guilty that things didn't work out as they should have done.

"She was a lovely lady; very family-orientated. If she hadn't had this procedure, she wouldn't have died at that time in that way. She would have lived longer. Now we've got to a sort of resolution, we just hope it doesn't happen again to anybody else."

The family of the fourth patient, Carol Cole who died aged just 53, is involved in legal action against the Trust.

Deputy medical director at the trust, John Walsh, said: "We would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the families for their loss and are truly sorry for any shortcomings in the care we provided.

"Although each case is unique, we should have done more to involve families in decisions about patient care as well as taking other actions to manage these complex, high-risk cases.

"We have made significant changes including: appointing more consultants who can deliver lower-risk endoscopy to ensure this procedure is still required, introducing an extra clinic where families can be involved in the discussion of benefits and estimated personalised risk and we are developing advanced real-time data analysis to track outcomes and inform our consent conversations."