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Hospital criticised over man's death
7:40am Wednesday 17th October 2012 in News
A ELDERLY man who died after doctors refused to resuscitate him received an unsatisfactory level of care at Basildon Hospital.
An inquest into the death of 79-year-old John Flockhart, from South Ockendon, heard how he had a 40 percent chance of survival when he was admitted with chest pains, which turned out to be severe pneumonia.
Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded a narrative verdict and highlighted a series of blunders from the hospital.
Staff failed to communicate with each other and the observation chart detailing Mr Flockhart’s medical updates went missing, meaning doctors and nurses were unaware of changes to his condition.
During the inquest at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court, Mrs Beasley-Murray said: “The standard of medical record keeping was inadequate and the loss of the observation charts is unacceptable.
“There was a serious failure to check and discuss with Mr Flockhart’s family the seriousness of his condition and change in prognosis. It is to be hoped lessons have been learnt.”
In a further blunder, neither Mr Flockhart or his family were made aware of an order put in place stating he should not be resuscitated if he went into cardiac arrest.
After being admitted to Basildon Hospital on November 26, 2008, Mr Flockhart was described as happy and chatty, but noticeably suffering from lack of breath.
His pneumonia, which originally went undetected, took a dramatic turn for the worse at around 10pm the following day and his heart stopped two hours later while his distraught daughter, Sharon Flockhart, pleaded with nurses to resuscitate him.
Miss Flockhart, from London, said: “My dad was seriously ill, but what we will never know is if he could have survived.
“We appreciate it is sometimes appropriate to put a resuscitation order in place, however we feel it should be indicated to the patient themselves or family representatives.
“We now want to urge other people to be brave enough to raise the issue of DNR decisions with doctors.
“We were stripped of the opportunity to seek a second opinion.”
* BASILDON Hospital has vowed to make changes following the findings of the inquest into John Flockhart’s death.
Rules regarding DNR decisions have been adapted since 2008 and are now only used in exceptional circumstances.
The Care Quality Commission warned a number of hospitals in 2009, including Basildon, they need to stick more closely to policy, consult patients and always put information around orders on notes.
The Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals Trust have urged anyone with concerns to raise them with doctors and nurses.
A spokesman said: “It is important patients and their loved ones know they can discuss any aspect of their care with medical staff, at any time.
“Since Mr Flockhart’s death, we have made changes and the Trust will respond to any further recommendations the coroner makes.
"We understand this has been a very difficult and prolonged process for the family and sincerely hope the coroner’s findings will provide them with closure.”