9 February 2024
Poole Hospital said it apologized for the failings that resulted in the man’s death
A family has won compensation over the death of a hospital patient who was not fed for nine days.
The 56-year-old man, who had Down’s syndrome and dementia, died from pneumonia at Poole Hospital in 2021.
The hospital’s “shocking mismanagement” of nutrition caused his subsequent severe deterioration and death, the family’s solicitor said.
The hospital, which paid £15,000 in compensation, said it apologized for the failings and had made changes.
The man was put into care after being looked after by his parents for most of his life, solicitor Adrian Cormack said.
However, he fell and fractured his hip on his first night at a Bournemouth care home, Mr Cormack said.
The solicitor said the patient was admitted to Poole Hospital and was listed as “nil by mouth” because he had difficulty swallowing.
There was a crucial lack of communication between hospital teams over the patient’s deteriorating condition, Mr Cormack said.
Senior clinicians did not heed “attempts by nursing staff to escalate care,” he said.
NHS Resolution, which settled the family’s claim, said “on balance of probability, the admitted breach of duty caused a deterioration… and he would not have died when he did”, according to the solicitor.
The care home, which did not admit liability, paid the family £7,500.
Mr Cormack said: “This was a shocking case. It was mismanagement by the hospital.
“Sadly, the damages for statutory bereavement are limited by law to just £15,120. This is wholly inadequate for bereaved families who have lost loved ones.”
NHS Resolution said it was unable to comment.
Siobhan Harrington, chief executive of University Hospitals Dorset, said: “We offer our sincere condolences once again to the family and have apologized for the failings that resulted in his death.
“We have implemented a number of changes following this and have shared these with the family.”