North East Wales

Family accuses doctors over Carl Nolan's death

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Media captionCarl Nolan was not told he had liver disease for seven years

The family of a man who died after what was called one of the worst examples of poor treatment in the Welsh NHS, has accused the General Medical Council of refusing to take action against some doctors responsible for his care.

Carl Nolan, 30, from Rhyl, was not told for seven years he had liver disease.

His family have complained to the GMC, but said they have had no success in getting answers.

The GMC said it does not comment on individual cases.

Last year the Public Service Ombudsman issued a damning report into the death of Mr Nolan, who had congenital cirrhosis of the liver.

Tests at Glan Clwyd Hospital in 2001 picked up Mr Nolan's condition, although neither he nor his family were told until almost seven years later.


By 2010, his liver was failing and he was rushed again to the north Wales hospital, but was sent home several times before eventually being referred to a specialist unit in Birmingham and put on a transplant list.

Mr Nolan died a few weeks later.

Last October the ombudsman told BBC Wales poor care throughout had denied him the chance to survive and flourish.

The ombudsman Peter Tyndall said: "I was shocked by what our investigation found in this instance. This is one of the worst examples of poor treatment in the NHS and poor communication with a patient that I have encountered in my time as ombudsman."

With the ombudsman's backing his family complained to the General Medical Council about seven doctors who had been involved in care.

Image caption Andrea Nolan told BBC Wales they wanted to ensure no-one else went through what they had gone through

'Dreadful errors'

In their replies the family, the GMC said it hasn't been able to identify one of the doctors and it could not investigate another because he was no longer practising.

It said it would not look at another two doctors because the events took place more than five years ago.

One complaint has been dismissed and complaints against two more doctors are still being looked at.

Mr Nolan's mother Pat Nolan said: "People have got to be accountable. We're all accountable...and they had made some dreadful, dreadful errors. And they have to be brought to task about it."

His sister Andrea Nolan said what happened should not happen again.

She said: "Carl was thirty. He had the whole of his life ahead of him. We shouted really loudly for Carl when he was ill and nothing, nothing happened," she said.

"Straight after Carl died we could have got a lawyer and sued the hospital. But we didn't do that.

"We didn't do that because we didn't want just to get a sum of money."

Ms Nolan added: "We actually wanted it to change. We didn't want anyone else to go through what we've been through. And we've failed haven't we, because people are still going through that."

Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board said no staff have been disciplined or dismissed as a result of the case.

A spokesperson said: "We accepted the findings of the ombudsman's report in full and recognise that some of the care given to Mr Nolan was below the standard that should have been provided.

"As a result of this case, our appointments system and and gastroenterology care pathways have been robustly reviewed to ensure that we are providing a high quality, safe service for patients."

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