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Grieving family demand improvements after hospital admits fatal error

A grandfather died in hospital after an “unforgivable” failure of basic medical care following routine surgery, his grieving family has said. 

John Pole, 73, was admitted to Royal Derby Hospital in December 2011 to have his gallbladder removed but he died days later after suffering ongoing internal bleeding.

An investigation revealed that staff repeatedly missed obvious warning signs that the married father-of-two, of Holloway, near Derby, was severely haemorrhaging and also failed adequately to intervene when his condition deteriorated.

Mr Pole’s family have now demanded improvements are made to ensure similar failures can never be repeated after Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability following legal action.
His daughter Liz Fletcher said: “Dad was taken away from us by hospital staff who could not see what was happening in front of them.

“As his condition deteriorated through the Sunday night he was not transferred to intensive care. And, hardest for us to deal with is the fact my mum was not contacted and updated about his worsening state.
“They didn’t call us until after his death so we were not able to be with him at the end. It’s heartbreaking and painful to think about.

“Losing dad has been incredibly hard for all the family. But learning through the investigation and from the inquest that his death was preventable, that a failing of basic medical care and lack of procedures caused him to die alone, is unforgivable.

“The only comfort we can now get is to know that improvements will be made which mean no other family has to go through a similar tragedy at any hospital.”
The family’s law firm Slater and Gordon identified a catalogue of failings and missed opportunities which contributed to Mr Pole’s death.

It also found that surgical and medical teams could and should have detected the internal bleeding and treated it.
The family’s lawyer, clinical negligence specialist Tim Deeming, of Slater and Gordon, said: “Mr Pole’s care fell tragically below what should have been expected. A combination of errors and delays in treatment resulted in his death.

“These mistakes should never happen and the hospital must assess its procedures to ensure they cannot ever happen again.

“To lose any loved one is difficult, but to lose someone in these circumstances has compounded the grief felt by Mr Pole’s family and we want to ensure that effective lessons are learnt both in Derby and across all hospitals to improve care in such situations.”