Ombudsman finds ‘significant failings’ in elderly patient’s care

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Hospital bosses have been orderd to apologise to the family of a patient who died after a watchdog found there were “significant failings” in his care.

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Rosemary Agnew said there were a “number of failings” in the treatment the elderly  man received after in the enhanced recovery area of Glasgow Royal Infirmary in October 2016.

She added she was making a public report on his daughter’s complaint because of her “concerns about the significant failings” in his care and treatment and “because I consider it is in the wider public interest”.

The man, identified only as Mr A in the report, was admitted to the hospital on September 30, 2016 after losing weight and complaining of stomach pains.

On October 5 he had surgery to remove sections from his intestine, and afterwards was cared for in the high dependency unit, where his family said the care was “excellent”.

But when he was transferred to the enhanced recovery area on October 12, the Ombudsman said staff “failed to act” in response to the family’s concerns, with the report noting the man’s daughter – identified as Ms C – was “begging” for medical help.

His condition deteriorated and he was transferred back to high dependency, with doctors carrying out another operation. Despite this he died on October 21.

The Ombudsman said: “Had Mr A been assessed and examined proactively by an experienced doctor earlier, it was likely that they would have recognised his deterioration and escalated his care sooner.

“Had this happened, there would have been a greater chance of survival.”

It was also ruled a CT scan “should also have been carried out sooner”, saying this would have alerted medics to the patients “gross abdominal infection” – with the man’s daughter complaining staff failed to notice her father had a “bellyful of pus”.

The Ombudsman said: “By the time the CT scan was done, his condition had deteriorated to an extent where further surgery and aggressive treatment were unlikely to be successful.”

And while he should have been monitored at least every four hours, the report said there were occasions when there were more than six hours between observations, and there was once a gap of over seven hours “which was unreasonable”.

The Ombudsman added: “In relation to Ms C’s complaint that the Board did not provide reasonable medical treatment to Mr A in the enhanced recovery area, we found that there were a number of failings.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “We will be writing to the family to reiterate our sincere condolences and to apologise for the clear failings in this patient’s care.

“The recommendations from the Ombudsman have been discussed by a multi-disciplinary team and a number of changes have already been implemented.

“We are working to implement the remaining recommendations and ensure that lessons learned in this case are shared with the appropriate staff.”

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