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Man dies in ‘under-pressure’ hospital

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

West Midlands Ambulance Service has said calling a “disaster doctor” to care for patients in Worcestershire Royal Hospital in April was “unprecedented” and a “decision not taken lightly“.  This was following the death of Mr John Flaherty who experienced long delays in receiving medical attention at the hospital after a serious fall

Mr Flaherty, who suffered from ill health, was left at least five hours on a trolley in the accident and emergency ward on 10 April.  He died five days later.  Ambulance bosses have confirmed that they decided to bring in the doctor, known as the medical incident officer, after delays in treating Mr Flaherty and two other patients.  This decision is usually only taken in the event of major disasters. The doctor treated eight patients in total during his time at the hospital.

Mr Flaherty, of Dines Green in Worcester, suffered two epileptic fits while in hospital and suffered great difficulty breathing due to emphysema.  His oxygen machine was withdrawn four days after he was admitted. 

‘it’s heart breaking’

His daughter, Emma Flaherty, 27, said that she was shocked to see the condition her father was in whilst in Accident and Emergency.  She stated “It’s heart breaking, especially when there are doctors there anyway.  I understand hospitals get busy but they should be able to cope”. 

Doctors confirmed that Mr Flaherty’s death was caused by a combination of his epilepsy and emphysema.  It was discovered that he had suffered a broken hip as a result of the fall, and the stress and pain of being left so long untreated is thought to have exacerbated his conditions.

Mr Flaherty’s sister, Terri Preece, has written to the hospital to complain about the treatment her brother received and has asked officials to investigate.  The hospital is now investigating the matter and the NTS Trust Development Authority has confirmed that it will appoint an improvement director at the hospital.  In a statement the Trust announced that it is working hard to overcome the difficulties they are facing, and apologised to Mr Flaherty’s family.

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