Family to Pursue Claim for Wrongful Death due to Negligent Post-Operative Care

A family have instructed a solicitor to pursue a claim for a wrongful death due to negligent post-operative care at the private Yorkshire Clinic in Bingley.

On 25th September 2014, James Hartley (79) from Addingham was admitted as an NHS patient to the private Yorkshire Clinic in Bingley for a routine hernia repair operation. The hernia repair operation went as planned, but twenty-four hours afterwards James suffered a series of seizures.

James was transferred to the intensive care department at Bradford Royal Infirmary, where tests revealed evidence of low sodium levels and a swelling of the brain. James died six days later from water intoxication, multiple organ failure due to sepsis and pneumonia.

An inquest into his death found that James – described as “fit and healthy” prior to his hernia operation – had not been fitted with a catheter until fourteen hours after his operation, during which time he had been encouraged to drink plenty of water.

The catheter had been removed straight after 650ml of fluid had been removed, and James fluid levels had not been checked since – causing a fatal amount of water to build up in his system which led to the swelling of his brain and the development of sepsis.

Assistant coroner Oliver Langstaff recorded a verdict of death by misadventure at the inquest, but he noted: “There is no doubt in my mind that the major contributing force in Mr Hartley’s death was water intoxication brought on by an overload of fluids that went unmonitored and unnoticed”.

Mr Langstaff added: “I have some misgivings of the overall thoroughness to the investigation into nurses responsible for Mr Hartley’s care on September 25 and they are conspicuous by their absence from this inquiry.”

Members of the family attending the inquest said that they were pleased that the assistant coroner had highlighted the lack of care received by James, and revealed that they had instructed a solicitor to pursue a claim for wrongful death due to negligence post-operative care.

Mr Hartley’s son Richard, added: “[the death of James] raises another issue of private companies coming in and taking over NHS operations and it asks questions about the standard of care provided in supposedly easy contracts.”