Belfast Telegraph

Patient died after Causeway Hospital failed to provide adequate care, Ombudsman says

Causeway Hospital in Coleraine
Causeway Hospital in Coleraine

A patient died of liver disease after Causeway Hospital failed to provide adequate care, the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman has found.

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) "apologised unreservedly" to the woman's family and offered a £10,000 as recommended by the Ombudsman.

The female patient, who has not been named, passed away in September 2015.

The investigation by the Ombudsman found care of the patient at the Coleraine hospital meant she was not given the best possible chance of survival.

It found "multiple failings" in the case, including a delay in carrying out tests, prescribing antibiotics, inadequate nutrition,  and hydration during the woman's time in hospital.

The woman was not referred to a dietitian until 10 days after she was admitted to the hospital.

Her husband, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the BBC his wife's story should be told so that lessons could be learned for the future.

He complained to the Ombudsman because he did not feel a check on whether his wife had a bacterial infection was carried out quickly enough.

Ombudsman Marie Anderson said it was a "sad case" and that the patient's limited chances of survival were dependent on her receiving timely and appropriate care.

"Although I cannot conclude that her death was avoidable, I have no doubt that prompt treatment of potential sepsis and the provision of appropriate fluids and nutrition would have improved her chances of survival," Ms Anderson said.

Ombudsman Marie Anderson
Ombudsman Marie Anderson

The NHSCT said the patient's treatment had fallen below the standard expected.

"We have apologised unreservedly to the family of the patient that the treatment and care she received fell short of the standard that we strive to achieve," the statement said.

"We have identified and taken on board the learning from this case and this will continue to be reflected in practice going forward."

Ms Anderson advised the NHSCT to pay £10,000 to the woman's family and recommended an apology be offered by the Chief Executive of the trust and the clinicians involved in her care.

She also recommended that the Trust carry out an audit of patients with de-compensated liver disease to make sure they had been screened for malnutrition and hydration.

NHSCT has confirmed that it accepted the recommendations and offered the payment and apology.

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