A CORONER has ruled that the father-in-law of a former Wigan MP, who was admitted and then discharged from hospital five times in a single month, died of a naturally occurring disease.
Dad-of-six and ex-docker Tommy Kevan - who worked a decade after the retirement age and was described as a “big, strong man” - passed away in April from heart failure and aortic valve disease with a C-Diff infection described as a “trigger”.
The 91-year-old’s family, represented at a Bolton inquest by his son-in-law, former Makerfield MP Sir Ian McCartney, who believed the late Stubshaw Cross man was repeatedly prematurely discharged from hospital and that there were delays in determining the level of his illness leaving him weak, confused and dehydrated “because he had had a good innings”.
The former Government minister - who is now chairman of Wigan’s Independent NHS watchdog - also accused the Alexandra Court Intermediate Care Centre of an “appalling lack of record-keeping”.
And he criticised it for allegedly having an alarming lack of communication with Wigan Infirmary which he separately accused of important delays in analysing samples from Mr Kevan which delayed the onset of antibiotic treatment.
Sir Ian also claimed that Mr Kevan was left lying on the floor of his room at the Howard Street Centre for four hours after a fall, until he was spotted by staff at breakfast time.
The damage to his right hand sustained in the incident also helped to trigger complications from which he eventually failed to recover.
Coroner Jennifer Leeming used the hearing to make two key Regulation 28 findings.
She is now writing to bosses at the privately-managed Alexandra Court over its failure to inform the hospital that client Mr Kevan had been suffering from diarrhoea when he was readmitted from the care centre.
She will also put on record her concern that the WWL Trust had carried out an audit of the delays in submitted samples to be analysed at its laboratory but there had been no further audit to check if the recommendations had been implemented.
Earlier, consultant in emergency medicine at Wigan Infirmary, Dr Mueed Ahmad, told how there was delay in treating Mr Kevan when he was referred back to A&E by his GP 24 hours after being discharged because of problems with anti-social behaviour by drunks and patients under the influence of recreational drugs. He told the coroner: “I am glad that you have brought this up because unfortunately this is something we are we are experiencing on a more regular basis. Alcohol-related problems and people misbehaving caused problems for patients and staff who should be treated with dignity and respect.”
He said that measures had been taken to tighten security in the casualty department to tackle anti-social behaviour over the festive period in particular. Medical staff already had a procedure where, after making a clinical judgement, they could call on site security to attend and control drunken or abusive patients.
Dr Ahmad said: “Lately it has been happening quite regularly, I am afraid. These type of incidents can delay treatment for patients because, if a problem occurs, everybody gets disturbed and care can be compromised until things are normal again.
“There have been incidents in the country where medical staff doing their jobs have been attacked by drunken patients. It is a significant concern.”
Mr Kevan’s daughter, Lady Ann McCartney, said: “Dad had a small but valuable life. He was tall, handsome, pristine, kind and generous and he was always on my side.
“We knew he couldn’t live for ever, but before this his health conditions were being managed and he was thriving and well. Dad wasn’t old. He was only 91 and didn’t speak or talk like an old person.
“I miss him so much at times it takes my breath away.”