London Hospital Found at Fault for Avoidable Death due to Medical Negligence

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has found the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust at fault for an avoidable death due to medical negligence.        

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman was asked to investigate the death of a 62-year-old woman at Imperial College Hospital in West London, after the unnamed patient had been discharged prematurely without the expected range of tests being conducted.

The Ombudsman found that mistakes were made in assessing the woman´s condition on her initial visit to the hospital. “Avoidable” errors were identified in her diagnosis and treatment and the patient was discharged despite the tests that were conducted showing inconclusive results.

The woman subsequently returned to the Imperial College Hospital on several occasions, complaining of abdominal pain and blood in her urine. Eventually she was admitted for an exploratory operation, but she died from blood poisoning due to sepsis before surgery could take place.

The Ombudsman was critical of the woman´s avoidable death due to medical negligence, and noted that there was a failure to treat the patient with antibiotics or to control the clotting of her blood before surgery. The investigation into the avoidable death due to medical negligence also found that the hospital´s complaints handling procedure was poor.

Ombudsman Julie Mellor said: “Our investigation found that because of a series of errors at a hospital a woman lost her life. Her husband told us that he has lost his best friend just before he and his wife were due to start a new life together. We hope our investigation and the action taken by the trust will reassure him that lessons have been learnt as a result of his complaint so that others are less likely to suffer the same experience.”