Dad died at Blackpool Vic due to 'serious breach of care'

A man died following a series of mistakes at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, his inquest has heard.

Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 11:36 am
Paul Wilkinson and partner Louise Johnson

Paul Wilkinson, 45, died of sepsis and severe bowel inflammation, five days after being admitted to A&E with agonising abdominal pain – and kept on a corridor.

And a hearing at Blackpool Town Hall was yesterday told a simple course of antibiotics may have saved the father-of-three’s life.

Independent expert Dr Christopher Gibbins said: “There were repeated individual errors and system failures that contributed to Mr Wilkinson’s death. There does not appear to be a consultant responsible for his care in the first 48 hours. I think there has been a serious breach of care.”

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Paul Wilkinson and partner Louise Johnson

Mr Wilkinson, a salesman from Lytham, was taken by ambulance to Blackpool Victoria Hospital on the morning of Friday, May 26, last year.

Medics believed he was suffering from polymyositis, an uncommon inflammatory disease causing muscle weakness, and he was put

on a ward. He had a fever, but Dr Gibbins said there was ‘no evidence this was acknowledged or acted upon’, and a fast heart rate, both warning signs of sepsis.

He was also given steroids, despite a junior doctor warning against it, which may have masked inflammation, another sign of infection.

The inquest was told there was fewer staff during Mr Wilkinson’s stay because it was a bank holiday weekend. On the Sunday, he was seen by two doctors, Adedolapo Gbadebo and Nii Addo, neither of whom found signs of sepsis.

Dr Gbadebo was working on four other wards and twice said he was too busy to see Mr Wilkinson, before finally examining him, the court was told.

Mr Wilkinson’s health worsened, and only prescribed antibiotics on the Monday afternoon, when he was seen by Dr Simon Vaughn, who suspected sepsis and prescribed him the drugs three days after he was admitted.

Dr Vaughn said: “What was clear in my mind was that Mr Wilkinson was going to die without intervention.”

Mr Wilkinson was moved to intensive care, where he was put on ventilation and medicated. However, by this point, the inquest heard, his death was ‘extremely likely’.

Two days later, Dr Alexander Blackmore operated on Mr Wilkinson and concluded nothing more could be done, as the whole of his gut was severely infected. He died

later that day of multiple organ failure.

Dr Gibbins said he could not say ‘for sure’ that Mr Wilkinson would have survived if he was given the antibiotics at an earlier stage.

However, when barrister Vanessa Cashman asked: “Is it your view that if he had been treated earlier he wouldn’t have died of sepsis?”, he replied, “That is my view, yes.”

The inquest also heard how sepsis mortality rates increase by seven to eight per cent for every hour treatment is delayed. (Proceeding)