Advising with empathy and experience

Leytonstone Hospital failings led to man's death before wedding

A man died days before his wedding due to serious failings at a hospital in North East London, an ombudsman ruled.

The parliamentary and health service ombudsman (PHSO) said  the death of Andy Shewan's, 75, was "avoidable" and he would have lived had it not been for "multiple failures of care.”

Mr Shewan and his partner, June Richards, 80, were set to marry in January 2019 after 40 years together.

Just days before the couple's wedding, Mr Shewan, who had underlying health problems, complained of feeling unwell and was taken to A&E at Whipps Cross University Hospital, Leytonstone.

His condition worsened and he was transferred to an acute unit, where he suffered a cardiac arrest and died the following day.

Parliamentary and health service ombudsman, Rob Behrens, said the hospital had failed to take appropriate action when Mr Shewan's condition suddenly worsened and he was left alone in a side room for more than an hour.

When the monitor indicated an "immediate deterioration", staff failed to instantly call for an emergency clinician.

The ombudsman said a call for an emergency doctor was not made for 25 minutes but "they were too junior and did not respond.”

He added that Mr Shewan's partner, June, was not contacted by hospital staff in time to say goodbye to him.

Ms Richards said: "It's been three years and I still can't stop crying. He died in pain and on his own. It's so sad. I didn't get to say goodbye to him because I thought he would be coming home.

"His death was avoidable; he could've still been here. I could have had him for another week, or it could've been a month or years. They've taken such a lot from me that no-one can give me back."

Mr Behrens made a series of recommendations to Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, including to produce an action plan to ensure the various failings identified will not happen again.

Whipps Cross Hospital chief executive, Ralph Coulbeck, said: "We are deeply sorry for the serious failings in the care provided to Mr Andrew Shewan and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.

"We apologised unreservedly to Ms June Richards, paid the full compensation recommended by the ombudsman, and took steps to ensure this doesn't happen again."