A grieving fiancée has won legal action against a GP who sent her seriously ill partner away from hospital only for him to collapse and die at home hours later.
Mark Jobe, 31, was rushed to Royal London Hospital by concerned Joanne Preston after he became delirious with a high fever. But instead of keeping the father-of-one in for observation and tests, the GP working in a minor injuries department discharged Mr Jobe with orders to rest.
The following morning, the father-of-one suffered serious breathing difficulties and was found lying on his bedroom floor foaming at the mouth at the home he shared with Joanne in Hutton House, Turin Street, Bethnal Green. Paramedics battled to revive Mr Jobe and he was rushed the hospital but pronounced dead on arrival.
Still distraught Joanne, 33, spoke of her anger over the case after successfully suing the GP who treated Mr Jobe. The mother-of-three said, “This has ripped our family apart. I’m still shocked at the way the doctor dismissed Mark’s symptoms as just the flu. He just didn’t seem to take on board how serious things were. I kept telling him that Mark was delirious, he was drenched in sweat.
“Knowing what I know now about what happened my over-riding emotion is anger. I’m furious with the doctor. This was a preventable death; I still can’t come to terms with that.
“Had the right tests been done, had he listened to me when I was describing the symptoms, had he kept Mark in for observations, Mark would still be with us today. The doctor kept saying it was the flu. But I kept saying that Mark had had two flu jabs and that he was delirious, saying all sorts of odd things, which wasn’t what I thought happened with the flu.
“You just expect the doctor to do what’s best, to have explored all the symptoms properly. The hospital wasn’t busy at the time. There was no need for him to send Mark home.”
Joanne noticed Mark was unwell when he returned from a nightshift on the morning of Friday January 15, 2010.
His condition steadily deteriorated throughout the day; developing a high fever, sweating profusely, shivering and becoming delirious. Joanne eventually became so concerned she took him to hospital at 6.45pm.
When he arrived at the minor injuries unit in the A&E department, the Doctor noted his temperature on 37.5 degrees C and oxygen saturation levels on 92%, but failed to record that Mr Jobe was confused, sweating so much that his shirt was soaked through and that he had taken paracetamol which could have reduced his temperature.
He was discharged at 7.10pm with a diagnosis of upper respiratory tract infection and or influenza and told to see his GP the following Monday if symptoms persisted. By 1pm the following, Mr Jobe was complaining of being freezing cold and having difficulty breathing. At 2.15 an ambulance was called but in under two hours Mr Jobe was dead.
A Coroner found he died of acute cardiorespiratory failure caused by a fatal blood infection, most likely the result of bacteria pneumonia.
Joanne said, “Mark was a wonderful father, we had one child together and he was a stepfather two my two other children but he treated all of them like they were his own. He was hard working and was always helping out with the children. It’s been four years since he died but it never gets easier. I’d hate for another family to go through what we’ve been through. I tell my friends that if you see a doctor, and feel like you’re being fobbed off, seek a second opinion. People make mistakes and sometimes these mistakes can be fatal.”
Slater and Gordon Medical Negligence Lawyer Paul Sankey, who represented the family said, “Mark’s death has had a devastating impact on his family. The fact that he was young, fit and active only makes it worse. This was an entirely preventable death. The GP who saw Mr Jobe was seriously negligent in this case; a fact admitted by his Solicitors.
“This was an infection which, though serious, could have been easily treated. Left untreated, the infection caused sepsis which rapidly overwhelmed Mr Jobe’s system leading to his sudden and tragic death the next day. Had the doctor carried out the adequate tests, paid due concern to the symptoms and recommended Mr Jobe be kept in for observations, he would have survived.”
Paul Sankey is a Partner & Medical Negligence Lawyer at Slater and Gordon in London.
Slater and Gordon are a leading medical negligence law firm with 1,450 staff and eighteen offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Merseyside, Bristol, Newcastle, Halifax, Wakefield, Cambridge & meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire.