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'Our father was just left to die at hospital'
3:20pm Wednesday 10th October 2012 in News
A FAMILY was left in shock and distress when doctors refused to resuscitate their father, an inquest has heard.
When John Flockhart, 79, from South Ockendon, was admitted to Basildon Hospital on November 26, 2008, his children were given the impression he had a bad chest infection and would be discharged once he had finished antibiotics.
They were unaware their father in fact had severe pneumonia, and a doctor had made a decision that if he went into cardiac arrest, he should not be resuscitated.
Essex coroner, Caroline Beasley-Murray, heard Mr Flockhart, who had been admitted to A&E with shortness of breath, had suffered a stroke in 2005 which had left him with a weakness on the left side of his body. He had also experienced heart trouble.
On that morning, Dr Riz Mohamed issued a “do not resuscitate order” for Mr Flockhart, on the basis that should he go into cardiac arrest, attempts to resuscitate him would be “futile”.
Despite guidance suggesting it is appropriate to inform the patient, or his family, neither was done.
The court heard that had the family known about the order, they could have asked for a second opinion, or even started legal proceedings to get it overturned.
Later that night Mr Flockhart’s condition deteriorated, he wasn’t resuscitated, and he died just after midnight on November 29.
The first the family knew about the order was when the hospital called Mr Flockhart’s daughter, Sharon, to tell her father’s condition had deteriorated.
As it would take her an hour to get to the hospital, she asked for confirmation he would be resuscitated, and was then informed about the order, which she told the court she “begged” the hospital to overturn.
Expert witness Dr William Trounceon said Mr Flockhart’s pneumonia was probably a “survivable illness” and the care he received could have been better.
The coroner is set to give her verdict on Thursday (October 11).