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Coroner’s scanner concern after Barrow man breaks neck

A CORONER has voiced serious concerns over the amount of bladder scanners available at Furness General Hospital in Barrow after a pensioner was unable to be tested.

John Walker Fairbairn, 72, of Roose Road, Barrow, died on October 2 after falling over in his bathroom, resulting in a broken neck, an inquest heard yesterday.

Coroner Ian Smith has said the accident was likely to have been due to reduced mobility and extreme discomfort on the back of an operation for a hernia in his right testicle on September 25.

He returned to hospital just days later complaining of problems passing urine.

Doctors sent him home without checking his bladder because a bladder scanner was not available.

Mr Smith said: “Results have shown his bladder was dilated and very full with 1.5 litres of water – more than it should have been. He would have been in an extreme amount of discomfort.

“This would have reduced his mobility and he was not able to sleep. It is not surprising he fell over because he was feeling extremely uncomfortable. There’s no reason to suggest he fell over something, but more likely due to his general condition.

“A few days had gone by after the hospital but at the time of his death he didn’t have an infection.

“Doctor Tricia Walker says he said he passed a good volume of urine but I don’t think he could have passed a good volume of urine.

“Whatever was said, there was a misunderstanding on Dr Walker’s part. I don’t think he would be ever able to pass a significant amount of urine.

“It concerns me greatly that a scanner was not available as you would expect it to be.

“It would have been helpful because if there had been a large amount of water then the doctor would have done something about it.”

The court also heard how a nurse who had seen Mr Fairbairn prior to Dr Walker had wrongly believed a catheter had been inserted.

She believed urine retention was the problem but did not think there was an infection. She believed blood found in his urine was due to a previous catheterisation.

Dr Walker believed that he had an infection because of the blood and gave him antibiotics. Mr Smith added: “She also wanted to scan his bladder but couldn’t because there was not one available.

“I am sufficiently concerned that I will be writing to the authorities to say I cannot understand why there was not a scanner available.

“I record a verdict of accidental death because it was an accident against the background of his operation.

“I am concerned about the absence of the scanner and the misunderstanding between Mr Fairbairn and the medics involved.

“If the problem could have been identified then things might have been different.”

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs FGH, was unable to comment as the Evening Mail went to press.

Have your say

The comments made in these posts are grossly inaccurate.
Patients aren't been transferred unnecessarily it's due to capacity and the individuals diagnosis - patients are transferred to tertiary centres to receive specialised care (which uhmb) have never provided! Patients are in fact being transferred in a more timely manner than ever before.
FGH has been short on beds for the past few weeks thus providing evidence that patients aren't being transferred unnecessarily.
This town needs to support uhmb and acknowledge all the significant improvements made, accidents/mistakes happen in all walks of life. Humans are caring for patients therefore mistakes will happen but so long as these are acknowledged, reported, investigated and individuals involved are adequately supported then we must take comfort in this - I did when my family were affected by misdiagnosis.
Everyone is quick to blame and complain but at the end of the day you all go to FGH when you need it. If it's that's bad go elsewhere!!

Posted by Anon on 22 March 2014 at 18:19

The treatment of Mr Fairbairn at Furness General Hospital was an absolute disgrace. He was a man who deserved respect and care but instead was treated with arrogance, ignorance and a severe lack of care of duty. Just a little thought from the right person could have prevented the distress and extreme discomfort he endured during his last days. Staff were given the information they needed but chose to ignore it. Regardless of the lack of scanner, a simple catheter would have relieved his discomfort, significantly improved his physical condition and very possibly resulted in preventing a good from man dying unnecessarily.

Posted by Jeanette Skeates on 20 March 2014 at 19:57

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