Blind hospital patient given tag of young woman, inquest told

Christopher Quinney
Christopher Quinney
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A BLIND pensioner who died in hospital was found to be wearing the identity tag of a younger female patient after his death, an inquest heard.

A hearing into the death of 74-year-old Christopher Quinney highlighted a number of “shortcomings” in the care provided to him culminating in the startling blunder.

Mr Quinney was admitted to Scarborough Hospital on November 25 last year after several episodes of collapsing. The court was told that consent was not obtained prior to a liver biopsy being carried out on him, nor was it recognised that he was suffering a haemorrhage afterwards.

Pathologist Dr Carl Gray told the inquest that he could not find evidence that regular observations of the patient had been carried out following the procedure and said that doctors’ notes were incomplete.

He said the haemorrhage caused by the liver biopsy was the main cause of death.

He said the post-mortem revealed Mr Quinney had very advanced cancer which had spread to his liver and that, in any event, he would have died within weeks or months rather than years.

Dr Gray added that he noticed the wrong identity tag was attached to Mr Quinney’s ankle while carrying out a post-mortem examination.

He said: “My concerns were that there was the wrong diagnosis of what was happening to the patient.”

The inquest heard evidence from Dr David Humphries, consultant and clinical director in general medicine, who wrote a “serious incident report” into the death. He said that the biopsy should have been delayed to remedy a problem with the patient’s blood, which was not clotting as it should.

Mr Quinney died the day after the biopsy, three days after being admitted to the hospital.

Recording a conclusion of death by misadventure, coroner Michael Oakley said: “It is clear there have been some shortcomings in relation to the care of Mr Quinney.

“We have heard that a liver biopsy was quite the correct procedure to have carried out, but it was a question of when that was carried out.”

Mr Oakley said gaining patient consent was of great importance and noted that the problem of identification had “impinged” on the mortuary.

A spokesperson for Scarborough Hospital said: “The Trust has recognised that, sadly, there were shortcomings in the medical treatment Mr Quinney received and is sorry that he did not receive the high quality care that our patients rightly expect.”