Saturday, 7 November 2009

Man sent home from hospital died after being given wrong diagnosis

A man who was sent home from hospital by doctors who thought he had a virus died hours later, an inquest heard.

Doctors believed Nitesh Sharma's symptoms were the result of a winter bug, but in fact he had a twist in his bowel which caused a heart attack and multiple organ failure.

The 29-year-old had been taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary by his wife, Hiral, on November 21, 2007, after he had complained of chest pains, vomiting and diarrhoea.

He underwent tests and was discharged by doctors, who told the inquest they believed he had the norovirus.

His wife was so concerned after seeing him double-up in pain in the hospital car park she insisted he was checked again, and the second doctor came to the same conclusion.

At 6am the next day, he was re-admitted to hospital and minutes later suffered a heart attack. It was then that doctors discovered he had a kink in his bowel, which it is believed would have caused his vomiting and diarrhoea.

Mr Sharma underwent emergency surgery but died later that day as a result of multiple organ failure, the inquest at Leicester Town Hall heard.

Consultant general surgeon David Hemingway carried out the emergency surgery. He told the coroner that Mr Sharma would have had a less than 5% chance of dying if the operation had been carried before the heart attack.
Or, to put it another way, if one of the two doctors who had examined him had noticed the problem, there is a 95% chance he would still be alive today. Because ...

The inquest heard that other than having Type 1 diabetes, Mr Sharma had been in good health.
The pathologist, it would seem, was careful not to upset her NHS chums.

Pathologist Dr Catherine Richards told the inquest ... "It is possible he could have survived if surgery had been carried out before."
Possible? 95% is a darn site more than 'possible'.

Source: Leicester Mercury


LukeYates said...

You ask how 2 doctors failed to "notice the problem", but you very deliberately do not quote the consultant who stated in the article that Mr Sharma's symptoms were in every way "consistent with norovirus" and that they had looked for warning signs which could have suggested a more serious condition but "in this case there was nothing".
You assume that different diseases present differently but at early stages everything from depression to a ruptured aorta can present with being unwell with abdo pain, as Mr Sharma had. Sometimes the doctors do everything right but they still cannot win.
Mr Sharma's death is a tragedy, but that does not mean incompetence was the cause. I shall be interested to see the results of the inquest

Pie said...

If 2 doctors who independently assessed him it was clearly not going to be picked up. It is a devastating occurrence but is unavoidable.
Unless of course you want all patients scanned and screened for everything... Oh no, wait, you're bitching about the cost of the NHS as well...

Mark Wadsworth said...

1. We don't claim to be medical experts, this is a scrapbook blog without any particular agenda.

2. None of us have 'bitched' about what we spend on actual healthcare - but only two-thirds of the NHS budget goes on actual healthcare.