A hospital has launched an inquiry into the death of a 74-year-old man left without treatment on a trolley in an accident and emergency department for nine hours. Thomas Rogers, a great-grandfather, was taken by ambulance to Whipps Cross hospital for treatment for burns after he collapsed unconscious against a radiator at his home in sheltered accommodation in Woodford Green, Essex.
He was assessed by a triage nurse who decided he was "medium priority" when he arrived at 5.30pm on Wednesday, 14 August. A spokesman for the hospital said: "We had a lot of people waiting in A and E and it would appear Mr Rogers was not seen by a doctor as quickly as he should have been."
His condition was checked "fairly regularly" by nursing staff, who decided he remained "stable", the spokesman added. But when a nurse went to check at 2.10am he had collapsed in a cubicle. Mr Rogers was pronounced dead 10 minutes later, despite efforts at resuscitation.
The spokesman added: "At no stage was there any indication that his condition was life-threatening, or that sudden deterioration should be expected. The trust has opened an internal inquiry into these events. We have spoken to Mr Rogers' family and would like to pass on our condolences at this distressing time."
A post-mortem examination showed Mr Rogers had died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm, a weakness in the wall of the main blood vessel that bursts, causing a massive internal haemorrhage. There was a second cause of internal bleeding, which could have caused his collapse against the radiator at his home. A spokesman for the Walthamstow coroner said the death was natural causes and no inquest would be held.
Mr Rogers' son, Les, 49, said: "How could this happen? What other case was more serious than my dying father? We don't believe anyone has gone out there to kill him, and we are sure they are hard-working people, but it is a terrible thing that has happened. We are asking for an open inquiry."