"Missed perforated stomach ulcer"

About: Whiston Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

December 2008, father taken by ambulance to Whiston Hospital in severe pain (stomach) was left in a cubicle in discomfort for 2-3 hours while what seemed like drunks and drug addicts being dealt with. He was given morphine and sent home as he had been in A&E longer than guidelines. He was diagnosed with constipation. I found him dead at home the next morning as he had a perforated stomach ulcer. On website searches I discovered he had every textbook symptom of this.

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Response from St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to comment on our services. Please accept our sincere sympathies for you and your family, on the sad loss of your father. As we do not seem to have received any formal contact regarding this case, and do not have any of the details, it is very difficult for us to make a fair and proper assessment of your comments. We would like to reassure you that patients in Accident and Emergency are cared for on the basis of clinical priority and in accordance with the symptoms they have. Any decision to send your father or indeed any patient home would be made solely on the basis of their assessment and not on their time spent in Accident & Emergency. When patients come to Accident & Emergency they are assessed by an experienced nurse within minutes and pain relief is given where necessary. This may not completely remove the pain in all cases but will make it more tolerable. Patients are always reviewed by a Doctor before being transferred from Accident & Emergency into the care of another department or discharged from the hospital. Had there been any concerns regarding the death of your father, the coroner would have been informed as a matter of course. As far as we are aware, the Trust has not been contacted by the coroner in relation to a case similar to that which you describe. Like many Accident & Emergency departments throughout the country, ours cares for a broad section of society. We do our utmost to ensure that the bad behaviour of some patients does not inconvenience other patients that we care for. The Trust has a complaints procedure and we invite you to contact us by email, so that we can investigate this matter further. Thank you again for your comments and please contact us, so that we can assist you in the appropriate manner.
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