Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust apologised after the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman upheld a complaint after the man, who had been diagnosed with chronic lung disease, was left in a state of “considerable agitation and distress”.
In A&E the man, aged in his 60s, had a tube inserted into his trachea to assist his breathing and correct his blood carbon dioxide levels.
The ombudsman found that clinicians wrongly moved him to an assessment unit and removed the tube before he had improved sufficiently, leaving him “without the appropriate support” for more than 11 hours. He did recover and was discharged but died a month later of a heart attack.
The case was highlighted as part of a report revealing that many who complain to the NHS are not getting the answers they deserve.
Ombudsman Julie Mellor said: “These cases bring home all the suffering patients and their families experience when things go wrong, particularly when complaints are not handled effectively.”
The Mid Yorkshire case, which saw the trust apologise and pay £500 in compensation, was one of 133 cases in the report investigated by the ombudsman between July and September 2015. Of those 93 were NHS complaints.
Elsewhere in Yorkshire, a West Yorkshire GP practice paid out £1,500 after missing several opportunities to refer a seriously ill man for cancer tests.
The ombudsman’s investigation found that the patient should have been referred after an initial visit in summer 2012 but was only diagnosed in autumn 2013 after several visits complaining of symptoms. The patient died in spring 2014 of terminal kidney cancer.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust was also criticised for its complaint handling and for failing to record the effectiveness of pain relief for an ovarian cancer patient, prompting an apology.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman investigates around 4,000 complaints a year and upholds around 37 per cent of those.