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Man Dies Despite Ringing 999 From Hospital Bed

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Man Dies Despite Ringing 999 From Hospital Bed

A man who was forced to call 999 from his hospital bed died after medical staff failed to treat him, an inquest has found.

Evan Nathan Smith, from Walthamstow, London, died in April 2019 after having developed sepsis following an operation to remove a gallbladder stent a few days earlier.

The 21-year-old had sickle cell disease, which is when red blood cells become crescent-shaped. It is a condition most commonly found among people of African or Caribbean heritage, and can cause serious health issues.

The poor state of health that led him to be admitted to hospital triggered a sickle cell crisis - a blockage of blood vessels.

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Mr Smith was being held in a 'lodger' bed - added to a ward when it is over capacity - when he called 999 in the early hours of 23 April 2019.

At the time he had not been administered oxygen and the operator did not send any paramedics to check on him.

Evan Nathan Smith died after being refused treatment. Credit: SWNS
Evan Nathan Smith died after being refused treatment. Credit: SWNS

It wasn't until later in the day that he was seen by a haematologist and prescribed oxygen. However, by that time, Mr Smith had already begun the early stages of sickle cell crisis.

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And it was not until late the following day (24 April) that he received an exchange blood transfusion.

Sadly, Mr Smith, a football stats analyst, suffered a number of cardiac arrests that night and was pronounced dead the following day (25 April).

According to the pathologist, the cause of death was multiple organ failure brought about by a sickle cell crisis caused by sepsis.

Dr Andrew Walker, the coroner, concluded that Mr Smith's death was caused by a failure to treat him with 'a timely exchange transfusion'.

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Charles and Betty Smith. Credit: PA
Charles and Betty Smith. Credit: PA

Mr Walker went on to say that the situation was not helped by the fact that there was a clear 'lack of understanding of sickle cell disease in the medical and nursing staff looking after Mr Smith'.

He added that there was also a 'failure to appreciate the significance of those symptoms by those looking after Mr Smith at the time'.

However, despite this, Mr Walker, sitting at Barnet Coroner's Court, did not make a ruling of neglect on the part of the hospital.

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Following Mr Smith's death, it was heard, North Middlesex hospital introduced a ward dedicated to the treatment of sickle cell, with staff having received extra training surrounding the condition.

Charles and Betty Smith were both present for the hearing.

In a statement, they said: "The death of someone you love is always sad, but the tragic way in which Evan died is something we will live with for the rest of our lives.

"We hope no other family would ever have to go through what Betty and I have, to see our only child pass before us so unexpectedly, in the hands of those that were supposed to care for him."

Featured Image Credit: Leigh Day solicitors/PA

Topics: Science, Health, London

Dominic Smithers
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