Coroner concerned over access to records

A CORONER said he would write to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine after a man died when he was given the wrong treatment for a serious head injury.

Accountant John Bailey would have had a good chance of surviving if a CT scan had been done sooner at Barnsley District Hospital, an inquest heard.

Recording a narrative verdict, assistant deputy coroner Professor Robert Forrest said: "The lack of easy availability of previous records led to inappropriate clinical decisions being taken."

After the hearing Mr Bailey's sister, Tracy, said: "We are so upset and angry that had the accident and emergency department accessed his notes he would most likely have not died."

Mr Bailey, 37, died six weeks after doctors first failed to spot he had bleeding on the brain and sent him home on September 15, 2007.

He had got involved in a fight following a pub disco and hit his head on the ground after being felled with a single punch.

He was treated at Barnsley District Hospital and discharged but he later fell ill and complained of headaches.

By October 19 Mr Bailey was so unwell he fell out of bed and his brother had him readmitted to Barnsley hospital.

Only then was he given a lumbar puncture and a CT scan and he was transferred to Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital where he died on October 26, 2007.

John McMullen, neurological surgeon at the Hallamshire said if a CT scan had been carried out earlier he might have survived.

Dr Julian Humphreys, emergency medical consultant at Barnsley said when a scan was eventually taken it showed major bleeding on the brain.

He admitted the head injury had "fallen through the net" and the hospital was developing a new system of marking previous attendances.

Although police initially began a murder inquiry and arrested three people nobody has been charged over the death and the file has now been closed.