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Widow wins compensation over 3-hour wait

Posted in: Medical Negligence Wrongful & Accidental Death 

A widow has been awarded £1,000 in compensation after her dying husband was forced to wait for 3 hours before being seen by a doctor. The health board offered its sincerest apologies to the widow and her family, and paid her £1,000 after the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales said that the board failed to ensure there would be out-of-hours GP cover at the time of the man’s requirement. The man died in July 2013.

It was heard that the man was receiving end of life palliative care at home when his wife called for medical assistance. It took three hours before a GP reached the family home, during which he was struggling with severe pain and anxiety. Ombudsman Nick Bennett said that the health board’s failure to cover their out-of-hours GP service meant that the man’s final hours were extremely distressing.

Sincerest apologies

The health board admitted to these failings and offered the family its sincerest apologies. The health board and the Welsh NHS Ambulance Trust agreed to follow the Ombudsman’s recommendations, awarding the family £1,000 for their suffering.

An investigation following the death not only found failings regarding the service delay, but uncovered the fact that the paramedic who attended the family home following the death did not ‘understand his responsibility’ and made the decision to phone the police, unnecessarily.

The health board said that there would be a full review of staff procedures.

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