Doctor admits failings over hospital deaths

A MAN died of a heart attack just hours after Basildon Hospital staff failed to alert a doctor to his worsening condition, an inquest heard.

Dr Johnson Samuel admitted serious failings in the care of Raymond Cackett, 54, from South Ockendon, during cross examination at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court reports the Thurrock Gazette.

A joint inquest is being held into the deaths of Mr Cackett on March 11, 2010 and James Compton, 74, of Kings Road, Billericay, who died at the hospital on June 24, 2007.

Both contracted legionnaires disease after spells on Stanford ward. Mr Cackett was admitted to Pascoe ward after suffering a stroke on February 8, 2010 and discharged eight days later.

He stopped eating and was readmitted to Stanford ward on March 8, but deteriorated.

A test after death was positive for legionnaires.

He died nine days after the hospital was ordered by the Health and Safety Executive to improve how it tackles the legionella bug, found in hot water systems, following a non-fatal outbreak of the disease the previous December.

Dr Samuel admitted a doctor should have been alerted to Mr Cackett’s falling oxygen levels after an observation at 6.50pm on March 11 showed serious concerns, which were recorded, without further action.

Dr Samuel accepted he should have been moved to a high dependency unit where he could have undergone various treatments.

Matthew Barnes, representing Mr Cackett’s relatives, said: “If he had received that care, is the probability Mr Cackett would have survived beyond the time he actually died?”

Dr Samuel said: “Yes there is a probability.”

Dr Samuel also accepted a test for legionnaires was not carried out on Mr Cackett until the day of his death, when it should have been done three days earlier.

He also agreed that medics failed to carry out two hourly checks on him when his oxygen levels were falling.

At least nine people have contracted the disease at the hospital since 2002 over five outbreaks. Six of them later died, with two recorded as natural causes.

Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray said the inquests were being held together to see if the hospital did all it could to prevent their deaths and if any lessons could be learned.

The inquest continues.

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