Another death because of systemic failings in hospitals

3 June 2015

The article in the Evening Standard yesterday about the tragic death of Guy Bessant raises familiar themes for clinical negligence lawyers.

Mr Bessant was sent away from the Accident and Emergency department at Charing Cross Hospital, and treated by two GPs at the Urgent Care Centre. Because of systemic failings, neither GP saw the blood pressure reading taking by paramedics. If they had, further investigations would have been undertaken and Mr Bessant may not have died.

One of the GPs treating Mr Bessant is quoted as saying “When I heard what happened I wanted to give up my job.” It is heart rendering that the systemic failings let both Mr Bessant and the medical team down. 

Fortunately, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust have now put checks in place to avoid this situation arising again and claim that two lives have been saved as a result. Whilst this is reassuring, for Mr Bessant and his family it is too little, too late.

In our experience, aortic dissections are not always very well recognised, despite their tragic consequences. Identifying aortic dissections requires close attention to the patient’s symptoms so that general medical teams can raise the alarm and involve cardiologists. If diagnosed, dissections can be surgically repaired, and once recovered the patient can return to their normal life.

Further information

If you are concerned about the treatment you, or someone close to you has had, please contact a member of the clinical negligence team on 020 7814 1200.

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