Family Requests Inquest after Death in Hospital
Following Mrs Welch’s death in hospital, her family asked us to represent them at an Inquest. We supported the family during this very upsetting process and made sure their views were heard. The Coroner found there had been serious failings and made recommendations to the Defendant hospital for improving treatment to patients.Clients often approach our solicitors for help because they need someone to represent them at an Inquest. In this case, Mrs Welch’s family suspected that hospital negligence led to her death so they were unhappy with her treatment.
Mrs Welch was admitted to Leicester General Hospital with a history of heart problems and cellulitis (a serious skin condition). She was suffering from fluid retention and she had gained weight. Mrs Welch’s GP recommended that she should go to hospital so she could monitored and treated where she expected to receive IV medication. The doctor told her IV treatment was likely to have better results than oral medication.
Unfortunately, senior doctors did not have a lot of input into Mrs Welch’s care and someone changed her medication. Staff at the hospital transferred her to outlying wards over the next two weeks. Mrs Welch’s family soon realised that the consultants who were treating their mother did not visit her ward very often.
On the morning of Mrs Welch’s death her daughter and son-in-law, Linda and David Rowe, were travelling to the hospital with a letter of complaint. Although the family was concerned about her treatment, they did not realise how ill she was. They were shocked when the hospital said that Mrs Welch had died. They began the Inquest process and asked the Coroner to investigate her death because they wanted to find out if her death could have been avoided.
The Coroner held an Inquest and the doctors who were treating Mrs Welch gave evidence. They stated that she was seriously ill when she was admitted and they also said that they had not expected her to be discharged. Sadly, no one told Mrs Welch’s family the truth. They didn’t realise that she was unlikely to improve or return home. Naturally, they were very disappointed that they weren’t told this before. The information only came to light because of the Inquest.
An independent report from a Nursing Care expert instructed by the Coroner was highly critical of the monitoring of Mrs Welch’s condition. Mrs Welch’s family was also upset to learn that she was not given suitable pain medication. She did not receive reasonable care which could have improved her quality of life.
If doctors had communicated more fully with Mrs Welch’s family when she was admitted to hospital, they probably would not have invited the Coroner to hold an inquest. Because they were determined to investigate what had happened to Mrs Welch, the Coroner identified serious failings. We hope that the Trust will take up the Coroner’s recommendation and that they will fully investigate these failings. We also hope they will identify ways in which NHS procedures and treatment can be improved will help patients and improve NHS patient safety in the future.
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