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Family compensated after hospital patient dies after not being fed for nine days


A family has been awarded compensation after the death of a hospital patient who was not fed for nine days.

The man, 56, who had Down's syndrome and dementia, died from pneumonia at Poole Hospital in 2021.

The hospital's "shocking mismanagement" of nutrition caused his subsequent severe deterioration and death, the family's solicitor said.

The hospital, which paid £15,000 in compensation, said it apologised for the failings and had made changes.

The man was put into care after being looked after by his parents for most of his life but fell and fractured his hip on his first night at a Bournemouth care home.

The man was admitted to Poole Hospital and was listed as "nil by mouth" because he had difficulty swallowing.

Solicitor, Adrian Cormack, added that there was a crucial lack of communication between hospital teams about the patient's deteriorating condition and senior clinicians did not heed "attempts by nursing staff to escalate care.

NHS Resolution, which settled the family's claim, said "on balance of probability, the admitted breach of duty caused a deterioration... and he would not have died when he did." The care home, which did not admit liability, paid the family £7,500.

The solicitor claimed it was a shocking case of mismanagement by the hospital and added:

"Sadly, the damages for statutory bereavement are limited by law to just £15,120. This is wholly inadequate for bereaved families who have lost loved ones."

Chief executive of University Hospitals Dorset, Siobhan Harrington, said: "We offer our sincere condolences once again to the family and have apologised for the failings that resulted in his death.

“We have implemented a number of changes following this and have shared these with the family."