Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Wall of silence that shames the NHS: Grieving families who complain over blunders are ‘fobbed off’, damning report reveals

  • Some relatives are even left not knowing why their loved ones have died
  • Fobbed off with reports written by medics that absolve the NHS of blame
  • Hospitals cleared staff in 73% of cases where failures led to death or harm
  • Dame Julie Mellor made five recommendations to patient safety service

Grieving families face a wall of silence when they complain about NHS blunders, the health ombudsman warns today. Julie Mellor’s damning report reveals that some relatives are left not even knowing why a loved one has died. They are fobbed off with impenetrable reports that absolve the NHS of blame and are often written by the medics at fault.

‘Parents and families are being met with a wall of silence from the NHS when they seek answers as to why their loved one died or was harmed,’ said Dame Julie. ‘People want answers, to understand what happened and why, and to know that action is being taken to prevent the same thing happening again to others.’

But her report found that hospitals cleared staff in 73 per cent of 150 cases where failures had led to avoidable death or serious harm.

Dame Julie’s team said internal probes in English hospitals were not ‘consistent, reliable or transparent’. In half of internal investigations, the medics leading the review were not ‘independent of the events complained about’.

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Filed under: NHS, NHS Blunders,

My Story With Addisons Disease – Justice for Robbie Powell! article by Malisha Fuller

Let’s see how many shares we can get for justice for this family and awareness.

Because of negligence by medical professionals, Robert Darren Powell [Robbie] died on April 17, 1990 at the young age of 10. Four months before his death, he suffered from all the classical symptoms of Addison’s disease or Adrenal Insufficiency. Robbie had suffered from an Addisonian crisis and almost died in December 1989 when he was admitted to hospital as a medical emergency.

The medical professionals suspected Addison’s disease and ordered the ACTH test but did not share this information with his parents who would have ensured the test was carried out. Instead, the physicians blamed Robbie’s symptoms on gastroenteritis, which was untenable in the absence of diarrhoea, the high potassium, low sodium and low blood sugar.

Robbie was seen by 5 different doctors, on 7 separate occasions, in the last 15 days of his life. He was seen by 3 doctors, 4 times, in his last 3 days. Although the young boy was obviously unwell not one physician performed blood tests or even checked his blood pressure during this period. The medical physicians failed Robbie by not referring the child to a specialist, as requested in the medical notes. They also failed to admit him to the hospital to evaluate his condition thoroughly until it was too late to save his life. An Addison’s patient does not produce sufficient amounts of the hormone cortisol so therefore needs daily steroids to maintain life. Infection, stress, injury and surgery for Addison’s sufferers require additional steroids.

Click on the link to read the whole story

My Story With Addisons Disease

Robbie Powell


Filed under: GP's, NHS Blunders, ,

Southern Health chief executive to face MPs

The leader of an under-fire health trust criticised for the “preventable” death of an 18-year-old will be scrutinised by MPs.

Chief executive of the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Katrina Percy, will address MPs in a special meeting at Westminster on Tuesday. The trust was criticised for “longstanding risks to patients”.

In 2013 Connor Sparrowhawk drowned in a bath after suffering an epileptic fit in Oxford.  The chief executive will address MPs at a meeting of the Hampshire All-Party Parliamentary Group. Ms Percy has previously apologised for the issues that came to light following several inspections by government watchdogs.

After an inspection in January, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found there were “longstanding risks to patients” and investigations into deaths “were not good enough.” Scrutiny of the trust was sparked by the death of Connor Sparrowhawk at Slade House in Oxford in 2013.

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Connor Sparrowhawk, who died at Slade House, had epilepsy and experienced seizures

Filed under: NHS Blunders,

More than 1,000 NHS ‘never’ errors in four years

More than 1,100 patients have suffered from NHS “never events” – mistakes so serious they should never have happened – in the past four years.

Around 800 of these have either had the wrong area operated on or “foreign objects” such as gauzes, swabs, rubber gloves, scalpel blades or needles left inside them.

Some of the worst mistakes revealed by a Press Association investigation include:

  • A woman having her fallopian tubes removed instead of her appendix
  • A man having a testicle taken off instead of just the cyst on it
  • One woman having a kidney removed instead of an ovary
  • Another patient had a biopsy taken from their liver instead of their pancreas
  • Operations were carried out on the wrong hips, legs, eyes and knees
  • Blood transfusions with the wrong blood were given
  • Feeding tubes were put into patients’ lungs rather than their stomachs -which can prove fatal
  • Diabetic patients were not given insulin
  • Other patients were given the wrong type of implant or joint replacement
  • Patients were mixed up with others
  • Drug doses given out were far too high in some cases

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More than 800 people have had the wrong area operated on or ‘foreign objects’ left inside them.

Filed under: NHS Blunders,

The NHS must stop victimising bereaved families. By Shaun Lintern for HSJ

Bereaved families of systemic failure-related deaths have far too often become second victims, due to the NHS’s misguided secrecy and focus on reputation management, writes Shaun Lintern

Losing a loved one is painful enough especially when that loss results from a mistake, a system error, or worse, clinical negligence. In too many cases the NHS fails to be open and transparent with grieving families, compounding their loss with obfuscation and secrecy. Insult is literally added to injury for people who, in the most part, are just desperate for the truth about what happened – as well as an assurance that it won’t be repeated.

Fighting Back

The problem for the health service is that times have changed. Families are no longer prepared to just accept what they are told. Many are fighting back with a rage and a fury the health service has perhaps not faced on such a scale before. HSJ has reported the stories of a number of families whose individual struggles for the truth date back years and the journey has left them with permanent emotional scars. In these and many other cases, the effect on those families cannot be underestimated. They are traumatised by their treatment at the hands of a health service that is supposed to have compassion as a core value.

They are the true second victims of NHS failures and many will struggle to trust the service again.

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Shaun Lintern

Filed under: NHS Blunders, ,

War hero who survived Dunkirk blames NHS for alleged blunders which resulted in him losing both his legs

A war hero who served in the Second World War and survived Dunkirk has lost both his legs after alleged hospital blunders by the NHS.

Douglas Mainwaring, 93, from Bridgend, first visited his GP complaining of a pain in his left foot in September 2008 and was told it had likely been caused by a verruca. It was treated with a special freezing spray but after the treatment his leg became gangrenous and had to be amputated in October 2012.  His family claim investigations later revealed the original problemwas not a verruca at all, but was caused by a bone left sticking out after Douglas broke his foot during the war. His daughter Yvonne, 62, explained: “The GP sprayed quite a large area of dad’s foot.

“Less than a month later we noticed his foot turning black. We took him to hospital and the first thing the surgeon asked was, ‘When did you have frostbite?’ “After that things just got worse and worse. He was in terrible pain.”

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Douglas Mainwaring with daughter Yvonne and wife, Jean

Filed under: Elderly, Hospital, NHS, NHS Blunders,

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