Health chiefs say sorry to family
HEALTH chiefs have apologised to the family of a woman who died after failures in care at Swansea's Singleton Hospital.
The woman known as Mrs A was taken by her husband Mr A to the hospital in June 2011 as he was concerned she was having a heart attack.
She was complaining of excruciating back and stomach pain when she arrived at Singleton at 7.45pm, and died in the hospital shortly after 3.25am.
A Public Services Ombudsman's report has now found there were unreasonable delays diagnosing and treating Mrs A.
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Ombudsman Peter Tyndall wrote: "Due to the serious nature of this illness and high mortality rate, clinicians would be expected to prioritise the tests to diagnose this condition. In Mrs A's case clinicians failed to do this, instead tests were undertaken to 'rule in' other more common disorders rather than 'rule out' the aortic dissection. Sadly, Mrs A passed away shortly after being diagnosed."
The report said access to diagnostics was not as readily accessible out of hours at Singleton as it would have been at Morriston where Mrs A would have been taken had a 999 call been made.
It also revealed that the only communication with Mr A noted in the clinical notes was after Mrs A had died.
Finally, it states there was no attempt to reassure Mr A that lessons had been learned and remedies had been put into place to prevent an incident like this happening again.
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg (ABM) University Health Board has agreed to pay Mr A and Mrs A's children £5,000.
A spokeswoman for ABM said: "We would like to once more offer sincere condolences to the family of this patient, and apologise for the failings in her care identified in the Ombudsman's report. Staff at Singleton Hospital did their best to diagnose and treat the patient, but despite their best efforts, the patient sadly died.''
She added: "Staff at Singleton Hospital liaised with colleagues at Morriston Hospital and conducted a number of tests which did result in the correct diagnosis of this rare condition; but we accept there were delays in aspects of the management of this patient's care.
"Our ongoing Changing for the Better programme, which is considering ways to improve the way the health Board delivers NHS care, is looking at the provision of acute general medicine provision in Swansea. We will be taking the lessons learned from this case into consideration as part of this ongoing focus on acute medicine."