Coroner voices concern over hospital policy after death of man allowed to go home without potentially life-saving drugs (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Coroner voices concern over hospital policy after death of man allowed to go home without potentially life-saving drugs
A CORONER has said he wants hospital bosses to change a policy which allowed a man at risk from deep vein thrombosis to go home without any potentially life-saving medication.
Oldrich Andrla, 85, originally from Czech Republic but a long-term resident of Leyburn, died on October 16 last year after suffering a fractured right leg following a fall at his home.
An inquest in Richmond Town Hall today (Wednesday, Sept 25) heard Mr Andrla sustained the fractures to his tibia and fibula on October 7 and was taken to the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, before being transferred to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough next day.
He was advised that surgery to pin the bones would be the best course of action and was given a course of painkillers and medication to help prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
But Mr Andrla was reluctant to face an operation and despite his consultant’s efforts to advise him otherwise, he discharged himself on October 11 – the day of his planned surgery - and died at home just days later from a pulmonary embolism and DVT.
Policy at James Cook Hospital states that when a patient refuses treatment, all treatment is stopped – even though a supply of DVT medication could have prevented his death.
Surgeon Richard Hopcroft told the inquest he had lengthy talks with Mr Andrla to try to persuade him to agree to surgery.
“I was clear that he should have surgery to reconfigure and support the bone so he could put weight on the leg,” he said.
But after his scheduled operation had to be postponed by a day Mr Andrla changed his mind and decided to go home – thereby refusing hospital treatment so Mr Hopcroft could not provide him with any medication despite believing it would benefit him.
Mr Hopcroft added: “It is not my place to comment on the policy but I do think it would have been better to at least give him some medication.”
Coroner Robert Turnbull said “He left hospital on a Thursday, so it would not be unreasonable to give him the drugs to get him through the weekend.
“There was a chance that things could have been different if he had medication – I am giving a verdict of natural causes but I am concerned and I will be writing to the hospital to invite them to revisit this policy.”
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