Dying patient left for nine hours
Friday 07 April 1995
Margaret Curtin, 48, a mother of three, died the next day. Her husband, Michael, said he found her dead in bed on the ward. He had been called to Northwick Park Hospital in north London but says no-one warned him his wife had died.
"I strolled up to her bed and found her dead. I believe it is something I will never recover from," said Mr Curtin, headmaster of the Our Lady of Grace school in Harrow. "Thank God I didn't bring my three small children with me."
Managers at Northwick Park launched an urgent inquiry into Mrs Curtin's death. The trust hospital has a target time of 90 minutes to find a bed for a patient. A spokesman said on 7 March, when Mrs Curtin was admitted, the number of admissions to the hospital was "exceptionally high" at 52, compared with an average of 30.
Mrs Curtin's death raised questions about the ability of the Northwick Park and St Mark's NHS Trust to cope with an increased workload, when the casualty department at nearby Edgeware Hospital closes under Government plans to re-organise London's hospital.
Mrs Curtin had breast cancer that had spread to her bones. She was taken to hospital as she had breathing problems, was admitted at 9.20am, examined by doctors and given a blood test and chest X-ray. For nine hours she lay on the trolley in the A&E Department, according to her husband who stayed with her.
A hospital spokesman said Mrs Curtin was offered a bed in the observation area of the A&E Department at 5pm, but declined it.
Mr Curtin says at 2pm a nurse asked if his wife wanted anything to eat or drink. She asked for soup but the nurse said she could not get it. Mrs Curtin went to Hardy Ward at 6.15pm.
She died the next day from a blood clot on the lungs. Mr Curtin wrote to Michael Cole, chief executive of the trust, on 29 March. A copy of the letter was sent to Mrs Bottomley. The Department of Health declined to comment on the case.
- 1 Michael Brown shooting: Police shoot and kill second young black man near Ferguson
- 2 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 4 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
James Foley 'beheaded': PM cuts holiday short for emergency meeting on British response to latest Isis atrocity
Michael Brown shooting: Police shoot and kill second young black man near Ferguson
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
Iraq crisis: Islamic State's message to America - 'We will drown you all in blood'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Full Stack ...
£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...