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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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‘Failings’ led to sending home of Barrow cancer sufferer

THE devastated partner of a Barrow man sent home from hospital with no idea he was dying of cancer says she “can’t get on with her life.”

‘CAN’T MOVE ON’ Wendy Hofmann, whose partner William O’Brien died from cancer in 2011 LINDSEY DICKINGS REF: 50064466B004

“Significant failings” at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Furness General Hospital, led to terminally ill William O’Brien being discharged in 2011 – even after a junior doctor noted “worrying test results”.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, which investigates complaints against hospitals, concluded that the “failing of the trust were significant” and it had “made a mistake,” after being contacted by his partner Wendy Hofmann, 74.

The PHSO “partially upheld” her complaint, after discounting her claim that the mistake contributed to his death.

Miss Hofmann, of Cotswold Crescent, Barrow, has spent the last three years desperately seeking answers after losing Mr O’Brien to non-Hodgkin’s lym-phoma.

She told the Evening Mail: “I can’t get on with my life. I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Miss Hofmann is now due to meet Ann Ford, head of hospital inspection at government regulator the Care Quality Commission, next month.

Mr O’Brien, who suffered the from lung disease chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, was rushed to FGH’s A&E department on April 26, 2011, after collapsing during a visit to a chiropodist.

He was examined by a nurse, before being sent for further tests by a junior doctor.

He was found to have a severe chest infection.

According to the ombudsman, the doctor was also “concerned” about the fact Mr O’Brien was anaemic and that he had mentioned losing weight recently.

But despite her concerns, she did not seek the advice of a senior consultant.

Although the ombudsman said there were no “absolute guidelines” for junior doctors to say whether Mr O’Brien should have been admitted as an inpatient, it would have been “good practice” to consult a more senior doctor.

Mr O’Brien’s GP at the time, Dr Craig Stangroom, also expressed concerns in a letter to Miss Hofmann that Mr O’Brien was not admitted to hospital.

The ombudsman also said: “We are also concerned that there is no evidence that a doctor spoke to Mr O’Brien about his test results and the need for urgent further investigations.”

The PHSO said its A&E advisor said asking a GP to arrange further investigations can mean that patient’s care is delayed.

The doctor did, however, write to his GP asking for a referral to be arranged.

The ombudsman said this could have delayed his treatment, although Mr O’Brien was seen by his GP two days later.

It said: “There was evidence that Mr O’Brien was seriously ill when he was seen in A&E and the doctors should have made sure Mr O’Brien had further investigations for suspected cancer as soon as possible, and that he was aware of the situation.”

Mr O’Brien died on August 22, 2011.

Miss Hofmann said: “The way he was treated was inhuman. he tried to do everything with dignity, but he was in severe pain and nobody seemed to care.”

Have your say

I totally understand how this lady feels,my mother was diagnosed by FGH as having asthma at 72 years old,she actually had lung cancer,how can mistakes like that be made?

Posted by Jan on 23 June 2014 at 19:57

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