NEIL Hudgell Solicitors is supporting the family of a man who was sent home from hospital and told he had a common virus – only to die two days later because of swelling around his heart.
Jeffrey Hussey, 52, suffered three cardiac arrests and died in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Darent Valley Hospital, Kent, on March 13 of this year.
A post mortem concluded the cause of death had been left ventricular failure, caused by pericarditis (the swelling of the pericardium, a fluid-filled sac surrounding the heart).
He had been sent home by doctors just two days before he died when attending A&E at the same hospital with chest pains and breathing difficulties. He was told he had a virus and that his pains were likely to be the result of a strain.
Renu Daly, a specialist clinical negligence solicitor at Hudgell Solicitors, has supported Mr Hussey’s family through a recent inquest into her husband’s sudden death, and will continue to do so during subsequent investigations around his care.
The hospital admitted during the inquest that a chest x-ray was not carried out when he first attended at A&E on March 11, stressing routine testing was something doctors were encouraged not to do.
It was revealed an ECG did not show up the abnormalities, but doctors admitted Mr Hussey was in very poor health when he returned to hospital on March 13 through multi-organ failure and Sepsis, a whole body inflammation which is caused by severe infection, causing millions of deaths each year.
“This tragic loss is the subject of an ongoing investigation and we intend to support the Hussey family during this difficult time, and as further questions are asked around his treatment,” said Mrs Daly.
“Unfortunately, Mr Hussey passed away with pericarditis on 13 March 2014, having visited hospital two days earlier in considerable pain and experiencing breathing difficulties.
“It is clear Mr Hussey’s health deteriorated rapidly between the time of his first visit, and when he was brought back in by paramedics, after his wife made an emergency call.
“His family quite understandably still have many questions which they feel remain unanswered as to why the events between Mr Hussey first visiting A&E, and his untimely death less than 48 hours later, unfolded as tragically as they did.”
Mr Hussey had been given medication and discharged home from A&E at 11pm when he first attended at the hospital on March 11.
He and his wife Trudy were advised his ‘virus’ symptoms were likely to get worse before he got better, so when he began suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea through the night, and the next day, all seemed in keeping with the doctors’ theory.
However, Mrs Hussey became increasingly worried about her husband’s rapidly worsening condition and as a result called an out-of-hours doctor at 2.50am on March 13, only to be given a diagnosis of gastroenteritis over the phone, advising that Mr Hussey increase his fluid intake.
Having shown no signs of improvement, Mrs Hussey called 111 at 10am, and a paramedic was sent out to their home. Her husband was taken to the Intensive Care Unit, but died that day.
Mrs Hussey, who described her husband, a father of three and grandfather to seven, as ‘fit and healthy’ prior to the days which led to his death, said: “It was more than seven months ago now, but we remain hugely saddened by our loss, and angry, because we still feel his death could, and should have been prevented.
“When the paramedic came to see him the morning he died he immediately said Jeff should have been in hospital much earlier. He was clearly very ill, in fact, by the time he was admitted into hospital, it was clearly too late and there was no chance of him recovering.
“Right from the start I feared there was something wrong, but you listen to the medical professionals, and trust that they will get things right.”