Editor’s death blamed on Christmas delays at hospital

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DOCTORS could have saved the life of a man who was admitted to hospital last Christmas Day if they had acted more quickly to give him treatment, an inquest heard.

George Robinson, a former editor of the Worksop Guardian newspaper, was admitted to the town’s Bassetlaw Hospital complaining of stomach pains, and died just hours later.

A coroner heard requests were made for Mr Robinson, 57, to be admitted either to Doncaster Royal Infirmary or Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital, but confusion led to delays.

The inquest was told by Professor Peter Gaines, from the Northern General Hospital, that on the “balance of probabilities” Mr Robinson would have survived if he had been transferred more quickly.

Mr Robinson was apparently given a CT scan on his arrival at Bassetlaw Hospital, where an “unexplained mass” was detected between his kidney and spleen.

After his condition deteriorated an emergency operation was carried out where it was discovered he was bleeding internally.

Recording a narrative verdict in the case, Nottinghamshire coroner Heidi Connor said she would write to both NHS trusts involved over Mr Robinson’s treatment.

“There was no clear agreement in place to deal with this scenario,” she said.

“It’s clear to me that had there been a protocol for transferring patients, it could have made a difference in this case.”

Yesterday Sewa Singh, medical director of Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs both the Doncaster and Worksop hospitals, apologised for what had happened.

He said: “In emergencies like this, health professionals have to make what can be very difficult clinical decisions in circumstances where a patient’s condition may change extremely rapidly.

“Our staff tried as hard as they could to provide the very best care to Mr Robinson.

“However, that cannot possibly be of any comfort to Mr Robinson’s family and it is also very clear that there are serious lessons to learn from this tragedy.”