Michelle Meakin secures £120,000 for long term partner of man who died as a result of a premature discharge from hospital

Mr X was a 57-year-old man who had a previous medical history of complex inguinal and abdominal wall hernias.

On 22nd October 2020, he attended the A&E Department at Newham University Hospital with a two day history of intermittent abdominal pain and vomiting.  Following assessment, he was allowed home the same day with a plan to follow up in two weeks. 

Mr X re-attended A&E the following day with increased abdominal pain. He was admitted under the care of the surgeons and identified as having a large right incarcerated inguino-scrotal hernia.

On 24th October Mr X underwent a CT scan which confirmed the presence of loops of bowel within the right sided hernia but showed no sign of obstruction.  A decision was made that the complex hernia should be repaired electively in a specialist centre.

On 25th October 2020, Mr X was noted to have developed a urinary tract infection which was treated with antibiotics. On the morning of 26th October 2020, it was noted that he felt nauseated and was eating very little. The blood results from the previous day were noted. A decision was made that Mr X should be discharged home at around midday. Although markedly deranged blood results were passed from the laboratory via the nurses to the surgical team on afternoon 26th October 2020, Mr X had already gone home and apparently no action was taken.

Mr X was re-admitted on 28th October 2020 when he was found to be extremely unwell. He was presenting with confusion and low blood pressure; a tender abdomen; and a discoloured, swollen scrotum. He was treated in the Emergency Department for systemic sepsis and subsequently taken to theatre for emergency surgery. An incarcerated hernia was identified containing loops of ischaemic small bowel which were resected.

Following surgery Mr X was admitted to Intensive Care where despite all supportive efforts, he died of multi-organ failure on the morning of 29th October 2020.

We alleged that it was negligent to discharge Mr X on 26th October 2020. Had he been kept in, he would have undergone emergency surgery sooner and would have survived. Liability was admitted and after a period of negotiation, settlement was achieved for our client in the sum of £120,000.