Man dies days before his wedding after multiple failings at London hospital

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An ombudsman has ruled that the man died days before the wedding after a serious failure of care at a London hospital.

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The Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman said the death of 75-year-old Andy Shewan was “avoidable” and that he would have lived if not for “multiple failures of care” at Whips Cross Hospital.

He was due to marry his fiancee June Richards in January 2019 after being together for 40 years. But just days before their wedding, she was taken to A&E in Whipps Cross after falling ill.


Hospital staff had reassured Mr Shevan that his marriage would still go ahead but his condition worsened and he was transferred to an acute unit, where he suffered a cardiac arrest.

He died the next day.

In the judgment pronounced on Thursday, the PHSO said the hospital failed to take appropriate action when Mr Shevan’s condition deteriorated and he was left in an adjacent room for over an hour.

When the monitors indicated an “immediate fall”, the staff failed to call an emergency physician.

The ombudsman said that an emergency doctor was called after only 25 minutes, but “they were very junior and did not respond”.

He said Ms Richards had not been contacted in time to say goodbye to her partner.

Mr Sean’s fiancee June, 80, said: “I feel very sad and very angry about this. It’s been three years and I still can’t stop crying.

“He died in pain and on his own. It’s so sad, I couldn’t say goodbye to him because I thought he must be coming home.

“We used to say to each other ‘aren’t we a lovely family, you, me and Lily’, our lovely dog. Now, I’m sitting here, and I think ‘I’ve lost Andy’.

“His death was avoidable; He could still be here. I could keep him for another week, or it could be a month or a year.

She said: “Andy was very caring and gentle. He was the sweetest person you could meet and would help everyone.

“People used to say to me ‘aren’t you lucky you have him?’, and I’d say ‘yes’; then he’d say he’s lucky to have me.

“I live near the cemetery where Andy is, and I still talk to him. I tell him I wish he was here and I miss him so much. It took her life and it took my life.”

PHSO Mr Berens also said there had been a delay in completing and sending an investigation report to Ms Richards, and that the report “did not acknowledge the extent of the problems with the care or provide assurance that substantial service improvements would be made”. have been done”.

He said: “It is truly a heart-wrenching matter.

“Multiple failures to provide the right level of care have resulted in the death of a man just days before the happiest day of his life. The crisis is compounded by Jun, his fiancee.

“Nothing can change what happened or the tragic outcome. I hope that our investigation and recommendations can provide June some comfort and lead to changes in the Trust that will prevent this from happening again.

The Barts Trust, which runs the hospital, has been urged to draw up an action plan to ensure that the failures identified do not happen again.

He has also been ordered to pay £10,000 to Ms Richards and to write to “admit and apologize for failing to prevent Andy’s death”.

Ralph Coolbeck, chief executive of Whips Cross Hospital, said: “We are deeply sorry for the serious failings in the care provided to Mr Andrew Shewan and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.

“We have unconditionally apologized to Ms June Richards, paid the full compensation recommended by the Ombudsman, and are taking steps to ensure this does not happen again.”


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