Clinicians fall short in case of 24-year-old man, inquest finds

2019 07 15 21 31 9496 Patient Safety 400

A U.K. hospital admitted it failed a young man after his fatal heart defect was not detected when he was admitted to the hospital after a stabbing, the Manchester Evening News reports.

Dean Gillespie, 24, demonstrated high blood pressure readings and an enlarged heart on x-rays, which were acquired after he was stabbed in 2012. Two years later, he died after collapsing suddenly at his home.

A postmortem exam showed he died as a result of bleeding into the sacs of his heart after a congenital abnormality of his aorta, a coarctation, led to it rupturing.

For "reasons that are not clear," Gillespie's high blood pressure and enlarged heart x-rays taken after the stabbing were not shared with the consultant surgeon in charge of his care. At an inquest, his surgeon, Dr. Edwin Clarke, told the hearing that if he had seen the findings at the time they were taken, he would have discussed them with the specialist and would likely have referred Gillespie to a cardiologist for further investigation.

If Gillespie had been referred his problem would have been diagnosed and he could have been treated with a stent, wrote Prof. John Pepper of the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, in an independent report.

The Stockport National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust had apologized previously to Gillespie's family and reached a financial settlement. After the most recent hearing, the trust said, "We are deeply sorry that the standard of care provided to Dean Gillespie was inadequate, and we would like to take this opportunity to repeat our sincere apologies, sympathy, and condolences to his family and loved ones in this case."

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