The Pennine Acute Trust has been criticised by coroner Simon Nelson following the death of Christopher Farrington (46).

Mr Farrington attended the Accident and Emergency Department at the Royal Oldham Hospital on September 5th 2010. He was suffering from chronic renal failure which resulted in his death.

The Coroner identified “missed opportunities” as information from the pathology lab wasn’t acted on by Mr Farrington’s treating clinicians. There were also faults with a wireless system which linked patients to the Coronary Care Unit. This was only discovered by staff when Mr Farrington had collapsed after suffering a heart attack.

Blood results which showed a raised potassium level were received by a staff member who did not alert anyone or provide any treatment. A senior doctor admitted at the inquest that if she had been aware of the test results she would have given Mr Farrington extra calcium.

The coroner gave a narrative verdict and said that “his death may have been avoided had there not been a failure to act on the results. I have not included the word neglect, as in coronary terms it has to be gross neglect. I don’t believe the failure was gross, but changes that have come about following the death of Mr Farrington will be scrutinised by me very carefully.”

It would appear that there has been another unnecessary death as a result of failure in care at a local NHS hospital. The coroner is not charged with determining if there has been medical negligence. However the reported failures do seem to indicate negligence on the part of those caring for Mr Farrington.