Sep 28, 2017
Hospital trust admits to failing woman who died on the day she was sent home

A Speke woman told of her final days in hospital in a trans-Atlantic 'phone call to her daughter hours before she died.

Norah O'Hare, 84, passed away on the day of her discharge from Whiston Hospital.

Admitting 'errors and failings' in the treatment of Mrs O'Hare, St Helens and Whiston Teaching Hospitals Trust has apologised and paid damages to her family.

Her daughter, Patricia O'Hare, who lives at Milton, Florida, asked Williamsons Solicitors of Hull for help.

Clinical negligence solicitor Wayne Walker said that on her final day Mrs O'Hare spoke with her daughter for about 45 minutes.

“She gave a detailed account of her time in hospital. She said staff would not listen to her and that she no longer trusted them."

He added: "When Patricia O'Hare first approached us, it was clear the family would benefit from answers as to what occurred to a much loved family member.

"The Trust performed its own internal investigation, and between Patricia, those representing the Trust and me, we were able to resolve the outstanding issues in a timely manner.

"The Trust has acknowledged its failings in the care provided to Norah and I hope that procedures are put in place to prevent such occurrences happening to another family in the future."

The death is scheduled for an investigation by the Sefton coroner later this month or in October.

Patricia O'Hare said: "Mum would telephone me everyday and she would also Skype with me.

"I brought the claim with the hope my mum's 'letter would be written' and that it may prevent future deaths and neglect of our elderly within NHS hospitals."

Mrs O'Hare spent two nights in Whiston Hospital after being referred by her GP on New Year's Eve 2015. The cause of her death on January 2 was noted as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The Trust investigated the care given to Mrs O'Hare, assisted by consultant chest physician Professor Martin Walshaw of Liverpool.

Ann Marr, chief executive, wrote to Patricia O'Hare that areas of care had fallen below the standard which her mother was entitled to expect.

"It is acknowledged that consideration should have been given to non-invasive ventilation based on blood gas results and that there was poor adherence to the Trust oxygen therapy guidelines.

"In addition, information should have been provided about your mother's on-going oxygen requirements when she was discharged.

"The Trust has taken on board the recommendations made by Professor Walshaw and has identified lessons to be learned to improve care and avoid such incidents in the future."

NHS Resolution wrote: "The Trust accepts that during your mother's admission oxygen saturations were not maintained at the correct level and that further clinical review and monitoring, including repeat blood gas should have been undertaken."

Mr Walker, who initially took on the case on a pro bono basis, negotiated damages of £3,500 for the O'Hare family. "This was not about money. It was about the apology from the NHS acknowledging Mrs O'Hare's treatment could have ben better," he said.

Mrs O'Hare, who lived on Western Avenue, Speke, was the mother to nine grown-up children and lived with one of her sons.

"Everyone knew mum. She was loved and respected and her door was always open to neighbours," said Patricia O'Hare.

"Her final words to me were 'if your father was alive he would write a letter about what the hospital have done to me...they have finished me off'."