A&E death rate at five year high
The death toll at hospital accident and emergency departments has reached a five-year high according to the National Patient Safety Agency. The figures, gathered from all across the U.K. including Essex, show that hundreds of people die each year as a result of errors and misdiagnosis. Medical staff say that A&E services are overwhelmed and are suffering from under-funding and lack of staff in the face of increasing demand.
The Agency’s statistics show that in the period 2014 to 2015, 247 people admitted to A&E died as a result of poor care and that over the past five years more than 1,000 people suffered avoidable deaths. During the winter of 2014 approximately 30 hospitals were turning away patients, and the advice for patients this year is to stay away. Only 164 hospitals in the U.K. have an A&E department after the government closed dozens of institutions, resulting in severe pressure for many of the remaining casualty departments.
The latest figures show that there were 4 million emergency admissions and over 22 million other A&E treatments in the past year. According to the Quality Care Commission, over 50 per cent of the departments that they inspected failed to reach minimum safety standards, with excessive waiting times and equipment shortages. Failures in diagnosis included a young boy sent home with suspected chickenpox who died hours later from meningitis and a man sent home with painkillers who died days later from pancreatitis.
When the misdiagnosis of a patient results in additional harm or even death, then the patient, or family member, may be entitled to make a claim for negligence from those responsible for the failure. A solicitor experienced in medical misdiagnosis claims may be able to offer guidance through the process of showing that timely treatment of the patient would have resulted in a different outcome.