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Hospital payout over dead father

The family of a young father who died from blood poisoning on Christmas Day has received six-figure compensation after hospital bosses admitted that a second opinion would almost certainly have saved his life.

Malcolm Drake, from Blurton in Stoke-on-Trent, was 23 when he died from sepsis after he developed an abscess following a perforation in his bowel, as a result of undiagnosed Crohn's Disease.

He left behind his fiancee Sophie Lindop and their son Zak, who was then just five months old.

Three days before his death in 2007 he visited the accident and emergency department of North Staffordshire University Hospital because he was in so much pain that he could not walk. He had been there a week before with similar symptoms but was sent home.

On the second occasion, he was misdiagnosed with a muscle strain by locum GP Dr Aw - working out of hours and on his first day at the hospital - and was again sent home, his family's law firm Irwin Mitchell said.

If Crohn's Disease had been diagnosed, doctors might have been able to save Mr Drake's life by carrying out emergency surgery to prevent the bowel abscess that formed and caused the blood poisoning that killed him, as was later confirmed in a post-mortem examination.

Stoke-on-Trent Primary Care Trust has since admitted that the locum GP should have sought an immediate second opinion from a senior hospital doctor, given that this was Mr Drake's second attendance at A&E with the same symptoms. They also conceded that this should have led to urgent surgery.

Following a High Court Approval hearing in Birmingham, Miss Lindop said she was pleased their battle for justice was over but said it could not take away the anger she feels because her fiance is not alive today.

She said: "Our little boy, Zak, is now four years old. He starts school in a few days' time and this should have been a milestone in his life which he should have shared with both his parents.

"Sadly, he will never remember his daddy and has been robbed of all the time they should have had together."

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