Clinical negligence – man dies after misdiagnosis of a bowel condition

Robert Norris, 57, was rushed to the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, on 11 March 2011, complaining of severe stomach pains.  However, once at the hospital doctors repeatedly misdiagnosed Mr Norris with food poisoning despite mounting evidence that something more serious was wrong.  It was only after his condition deteriorated rapidly that Mr Norris was eventually sent for a scan, during which it was discovered that he had an ischaemic bowel, a condition where the blood supply to the bowel is blocked.  However, it was too late to treat him and he died that evening.

The case has now been settled for an undisclosed sum.  However, the family agree that no amount of money will recompense them for their loss.  The family are especially saddened by that fact that an ischaemic bowel was considered as a potential cause for Mr Norris’ symptoms when he was initially admitted, but this was later disregarded.

Mr Norris’ daughter said, “This situation has been devastating for our whole family not just because of the negligence involved in the diagnosis but also his pain and suffering.  He was a good man who would never complain so I knew he must be ill but for some reason the doctors ignored the signs and it cost him his life.  ‘You would expect a sick man to be well looked after in hospital but that just was not the case, I just don’t understand how the doctors and nurses could let him down so badly.”

Patrick Oliver, Associate and Head of Clinical Negligence at Swain & Co Solicitors LLP says, “This is a tragic case which highlights the importance of considering all potential causes of symptoms thoroughly.   Staff at hospitals should always bear in mind all potential diagnoses when considering a patient.”