Birmingham & Black Country

Son's relief over fresh inquest into hospital death

A fresh inquest has been ordered into the death of a man who died in hospital after being admitted with Clostridium difficile (C diff).

Stanley Mack, 77, died after suffering a heart attack at Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital in June 2008.

Coroner Aidan Cotter found there were "shortcomings" in his care but ruled a narrative verdict.

Mr Mack's son, Ian Mack, said his father had not eaten properly and had been de-hydrated.

He also said that doses of drugs had been missed.

"So he was very badly cared for and we can only wonder what sort of care the other people got on that ward," he said.

'Considerable concerns'

The Court of Appeal ruled there should be a fresh inquest after Lord Justice Toulson said the coroner had not given a "satisfactory explanation" for not calling the doctor responsible for Mr Mack's care at the time of his death as a witness at the original inquest.

He said Mr Mack's treatment, between his admission to hospital and his death, gave rise to "considerable concerns" including the fact the specialist C diff ward ran out of medication for the infection.

There were failures in recording Mr Mack's fluid levels and a number of recommended tests and procedures had not been carried out.

He said Mr Cotter's conduct of the inquest, in June 2009, was "conscientious" and said Mr Cotter had "probed what he could" based on the medical records available.


The judge also said it was "entirely proper" for a coroner to restrict the numbers of medical staff giving evidence, but, in the circumstances of this case, the consultant responsible for Mr Mack's care should have been called.

Mr Mack was first admitted to Selly Oak Hospital when he became ill following a hip operation.

He was placed in intensive care and later transferred to a specialist ward. He died on 25 June after suffering a heart attack. A post-mortem examination showed he had a pre-existing heart condition.

A spokesperson for University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said the trust would continue to assist the coroner with investigations.

"It would be inappropriate for us to comment at this stage on the care provided to Mr Mack as a new inquest is to be held, the purpose of which is to determine how Mr Mack came by his death and we do not wish to prejudice those proceedings."

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