15 January 2009
Family take legal action over alleged clinical negligence
The family of a woman who lost her life as a result of a bowel condition have begun legal proceedings against the hospital involved.
In 2007, Shirley Kane collapsed with abdominal pain following a holiday in the Lake District.
The 71-year-old was subsequently admitted to City Hospital, which is run by the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust.
A doctor mistakenly diagnosed her with food poisoning. She was in fact suffering from a twisted bowel, a condition which requires immediate surgery in order to prevent death.
It was not until two days later that medics realised the seriousness of her problems.
At this stage, an operation was conducted and six feet of gangrenous bowel was removed.
Despite efforts to save her, Ms Kane never regained consciousness and she died three weeks later.
Commenting on the case, her widower James said: "The family plans legal action - not for the money, but because it is the only way to make the hospital take notice," the Birmingham Post reports.
Paul Sankey, personal injury partner at Russell Jones & Walker, commented: "Obstruction of the bowel is fortunately rare but it is a serious and life-threatening condition which needs to be diagnosed quickly.
"If the rights steps are taken, diagnosis should not be difficult. This tragic case shows the importance of adequately trained doctors asking the right questions and not settling for an easy but wrong diagnosis."
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