Family of Man Misdiagnosed with Neck Injury to Pursue Claim

Posted on: July 20th, 2016 by Editor

The family of an elderly man – who died after his neck injury went undiagnosed for many weeks after the initial accident – have expressed their intent to pursue a claim for compensation.

Patrick Byrne, aged eighty-seven, fell in his home in Melksham on the 23rd May 2015. Patrick was a rushed to Bath’s Royal United Hospital and was admitted for monitoring. There, his condition quickly deteriorated and he began experiencing severe pains in his chest. Eventually, this moved up and it transpired that the fall had caused paralysis in his neck.

Members of Patrick’s family – who were very concerned with his condition – reportedly pleaded with staff to conduct a more thorough examination, though no such revision of the case was undertaken. A few days later, Patrick was moved to the Chippenham Community Hospital, though a second fall caused his return to the Royal United Hospital.

Eventually – many weeks after the initial causative fall – scans were conducted that revealed that Patrick’s accident had caused a compression of his spinal cord. Yet, though the correct diagnosis was finally made, Patrick did not recover from his paralysis and he died on the 21st October 2015.

In light of the circumstances of Patrick’s misdiagnosis and death, Avon Coroner’s Court held an inquest  into the months preceding Patrick’s passing. The court ruled that Patrick died because of natural causes, despite apparent dissent. Peter Harrowing, a coroner, disagreed with the ruling, commenting that he believed that Patrick died because of medical negligence. He argued that the misdiagnosis was evidence that Patrick did not receive an adequate standard of care when he was first admitted with his injury.

Members of Patrick’s family have chosen to speak to the press concerning the verdict, commenting that they find the ruling of the court “bizarre”. They have also expressed their intent to pursue a claim for compensation in court. Elizabeth, Patrick’s daughter, commented to the Wiltshire Times that “The standard of care my father received fell well below what should have been expected and, if the neck fracture had been diagnosed earlier, he could have had treatment which would have avoided the paralysis and his last months would not have been as distressing. The evidence was there. There were a lot of failures.”

The Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust – who oversee proceedings at the hospital – has also issued a statement, claiming that “We would once again like to offer our deepest condolences to Mr Byrne’s family at this difficult time. We acknowledge that we did not always meet our own high standards of care on this occasion and for this we apologise.”

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