Pensioner David Pattrick, 69, died in hospital toilet after gall bladder operation

Pensioner, 69, died in hospital toilet after gall bladder operation 'because NHS targets led to confusion over who was treating him'
David Pattrick, 69, found dead, face down in vomit and faeces, in cubicleWent to Colchester General Hospital in Essex for operation in Dec. 2010Professor Roger Motson blames NHS pool list for 'breeding uncertainty'

By
Mark Duell

PUBLISHED:

14:41 GMT, 21 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:57 GMT, 21 February 2013


Inquest: David Pattrick (pictured with his wife Susan, 64, in Canada in June 2004) was found dead, face down in vomit and faeces, in a toilet cubicle

Inquest: David Pattrick (pictured with his wife Susan, 64, in Canada in June 2004) was found dead, face down in vomit and faeces, in a toilet cubicle

A patient died because of the confusion caused by NHS targets, an inquest heard.

David Pattrick, 69, was found dead, face down in vomit and faeces, in a toilet cubicle in Colchester General Hospital in Essex in December 2010, two days after a gall bladder operation.

Professor Roger Motson, then head of the clinical team treating Mr Pattrick, told the inquest that he blamed NHS targets for the confusion over who was accountable for the patient.

‘A pool list was introduced to try and treat patients more quickly,’ Professor Roger Motson told Chelmsford Coroners' Court. ‘It breeds uncertainty as to who is looking after a patient. It's a reflection of doctors' working hours and never would have happened in the past.’

Mr Pattrick's widow, Susan, 64, has fought for two years to bring the matter to an inquest and claimed he her husband never consented to the specific procedure that was performed.

She blames junior doctors for not flagging up signs of infection that could have led to the death of Mr Pattrick, of Marks Tey, Essex, but the hospital denies wrongdoing.

He was admitted to the hospital's Mersea Ward for an elective gall bladder procedure on December 20 in 2010, which he was told he could return home from the following day.

The operation was tricky because he had an infection and doctors opted for a different form of surgery. For the next two days he was on antibiotics and his vital signs monitored. Then he died.

Treatment: Mr Pattrick was found dead in a toilet cubicle in Colchester General Hospital in Essex in 2010

Treatment: Mr Pattrick was found dead in a toilet cubicle in Colchester General Hospital in Essex in 2010

Coroner Dr David Rouse blamed failure of his bladder and a possible bacterial infection of septicaemia.

Mrs Pattrick said registrar Dr Kalpesh Vaghela had failed to alert senior doctors to her husband's abdominal pain.

Giving evidence, Dr Vaghela said: ‘I agree some of his levels were abnormal but not something to be alarmed at enough to alert someone at a senior level.’

The inquest also heard from Dr James Wright, the surgeon who had performed the operation. He said: ‘In my opinion he was making good progress to getting better and going home.’

Mrs Pattrick's legal team questioned why his high white blood cell count and sugar levels, and the fact he had not passed a stool for two days, had not rung alarm bells.

They also said Mr Pattrick had only seen a nurse and registrar with just four months of experience in the day before his death. The inquest continues.