Mother died after wait at Romford A&E 'full of drunks'
- 27 January 2011
- From the section London
A mother died after waiting five hours to be treated at a hospital A&E unit "full of drunks", her husband claims.
Laura Martin, 39, was taken to Queen's Hospital in Romford with severe head pains and vomiting on 13 December.
Her husband Andrew said the department had been "packed with drunk people" and she had not been seen by a doctor until her symptoms had subsided.
Mrs Martin then deteriorated and died hours later. The east London hospital said the case was being looked into.
Mr Martin, of Rush Green, Essex, said he had taken his wife to the hospital when she became unwell in the early hours.
He said the waiting room had been overrun with people being brought in after a night drinking.
"Names were being called out and no-one was there as they had just got up and left," he said.
"There was one girl slumped over and staff couldn't tell whether people were seriously ill or not because they were in a comatose state."
After waiting five hours to be seen, Mrs Martin's symptoms had eased and she was given painkillers and sent home.
Within an hour her condition deteriorated and they returned to the hospital where they waited another two-and-a-half hours to be seen.
Mr Martin, who has two children Abbie, nine, and Jamie, six, said: "We should have been prioritised the second time we were there, as you don't go back unless you are seriously ill.
"There seemed to be a lack of admin and they should plan for that."
He said he was also concerned about plans to close the A&E unit at the nearby King George Hospital.
"If this closure goes ahead Queen's Hospital is going to be swamped and I don't want other people to go through what we did."
Mr Martin said he was awaiting the results of post-mortem tests before deciding whether to make a formal complaint.
Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust acting chief executive Deborah Wheeler said: "Our condolences are with Mr Martin at this extremely difficult time.
"Our staff do the very best that they can for every patient that comes through our doors.
"At this stage, there is no evidence that there was a failure in Mrs Martin's care that could have prevented her death but we will certainly look into her case to see if there is anything we could have done differently."