An inquiry into the case of a 74-year-old man, who died after being left for nine hours on a hospital trolley, has condemned a hospital culture that accepted "grossly inadequate outcomes as normal".
The chaotic situation in the accident and emergency department of Whipps Cross hospital in Leytonstone, east London, contributed to the death of Thomas Rogers, a great-grandfather, who collapsed from an aneurysm at his home in Woodford Green, Essex, last August.
An aneurysm is when a blood vessel bursts, causing massive internal bleeding. Had Mr Rogers been seen by a doctor within an hour of being admitted at 5.30pm on 14 August – as he should have been – he might be alive today, the inquiry concluded.
In a damning report, the three-member external panel appointed to investigate the case yesterday blamed the hospital for failing to foster co-operation among medical staff, eroding their high personal and professional standards and failing to learn from its mistakes. It said the same problems, involving long waiting times in the emergency department, had been occurring for five years. "Unless substantial change happens, we believe that these events will be repeated," it warned.
Yesterday, the chief executive of the hospital, Peter Coles, pledged to implement the 15 recommendations made by the inquiry. "We accept the panel's findings that we failed Mr Rogers and his family on that night," he said.
Mr Rogers was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Although he was assessed by a nurse and was supposed to see a doctor within an hour of being admitted, he never did. Instead, 55 other patients, who arrived after him, saw a doctor.
He was found unconscious at 2.10am. Ten minutes later he was pronounced dead.
Alan Rogers, his eldest son aged 52, from Fenham, Newcastle, said the family knew that the NHS failed his father.
The report said: "During the interviews with [emergency] staff we detected a sense of resignation to the long waits, both to be seen by a doctor, and for beds. This was as if the staff saw no point in continuing to try to solve the problem. We were not convinced that the senior managers within the department were working together to solve the issue."Reuse content