The family of a man who died because of an undiagnosed neck fracture has indicated their intent to claim compensation for his suffering.
The causative accident occurred on the 23rd May 2015, when eighty-seven year-old Patrick Byrne fell at his home in Melksham. He was quickly admitted to the Royal United Hospital in Bath, where his condition deteriorated and the pain dropped beneath his chest. Patrick was subsequently unable to move his neck.
Though his family persistently asked medical staff to investigate Patrick’s pain, he was moved to the Chippenham Community Hospital a few days later. After another fall, he returned to the Royal United Hospital.
Eventually, a scan was conducted on Patrick’s neck and it was revealed that the initial fall had caused his spinal cord to be compressed. Patrick never recovered from the resultant paralysis and died in hospital on the 21st October 2015.
Avon Coroner’s Court heard a two-day inquest into the death and ruled that Patrick died from natural causes. This is in spite of the opinions of Peter Harrowing, a coroner who claimed that Patrick was let down by medical staff who failed to identify his condition when it first presented.
Patrick’s family have expressed their discontent with the verdict, labelling it as “bizarre” and expressing intent to pursue a claim for misdiagnosis compensation. Elizabeth, Patrick’s daughter, commented to the Wiltshire Times that “The standard of care my father received fell well below what should have been expected and, if the neck fracture had been diagnosed earlier, he could have had treatment which would have avoided the paralysis and his last months would not have been as distressing. The evidence was there. There were a lot of failures.”
A spokesperson for the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust has also issued a statement, claiming that “We would once again like to offer our deepest condolences to Mr Byrne’s family at this difficult time. We acknowledge that we did not always meet our own high standards of care on this occasion and for this we apologise.”