Hospital refuses to publish inquiry report on patient death

By Gillian Crotty

Kettering General Hospital has refused to publish the inquiry report in respect of a 17-year-old patient who bled to death the day after an appendix operation in 2012.

Victoria Harrison was referred to the hospital by her GP as a matter of urgency on 14th August 2012, and she appeared to be suffering from an appendicitis. During surgery one of her arteries was damaged but repaired. The next day she was found dead in her hospital bed - she had sent a text message previously to her boyfriend saying she was bleeding and in pain, and the last written observations were 9 hours prior to her being found.

Coroner Ann Pember was critical of the hospital's handover of the patient from theatre staff to the recovery nurse, and then the ward staff. She added that "windows of opportunity to treat Victoria were lost", and that had they been acted on "her chances of survival would have significantly increased". As a result the hospital conducted a serious incident investigation but has now said it will not publish the report in order to protect the staff involved from being identified and suffering "additional stress and pressure".

The hospital previously responded to a Freedom of Information Act request by saying 43 "care delivery problems" were identified in the case of Victoria, 6 of which were said to have a direct impact on her condition. It is known that not all nurses on the ward were aware of the bleed, and that not all staff read the medical notes, in some cases because they couldn't always make out the surgeon's handwriting. Corby Labour MP Andy Sawford called for more transparency from the hospital.

If you have suffered injury or loss as a result of poor or negligent medical care received in Northern Ireland, contact one of the clinical negligence claims solicitors at Wilson Nesbitt by calling 0800 840 9289.