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Medical blunder killed dad-of-3; Hospital failed to give patient vital drugs.

A DAD-of-three recovering from brain surgery died after doctors failed to give him vital drugs for almost a week.

Edward McKean, from Solihull, went without blood-thinning medication for six days when a junior doctor accidentally left them off his treatment chart.

The keen walker, who was just 52, would probably have lived had the mistake been picked up, an inquest heard.

A coroner ruled that doctors and nurses at Coventry's University Hospital missed numerous opportunities to spot the error and that "neglect" had contributed to Mr McKean's death.

Hospital bosses apologised for the mistake as the dead man's girlfriend told how she battled for almost a year to stop the tragedy being "swept under the carpet".

Speaking after the hearing, Susan Rickards said: "I fought for this inquest for ten months.

"I wanted to make sure the hospital answered for its mistakes." The inquest heard Mr McKean was initially given anti-coagulants after he underwent the operation, to repair damage caused by a tumour in his naval cavity and skull, on April 3 last year.

But a junior doctor accidentally missed the medication, designed to reduce the danger of blood clots, off his drug chart when she copied it up several days later.

As a result, Mr McKean collapsed and died as he walked to the toilet on April 22.

A blood clot in his left leg had broken free and blocked an artery, causing a fatal pulmonary embolism, the inquest heard.

A post-mortem examination found he had already suffered a smaller embolism which could have alerted doctors to their mistake and saved his life.

Reliving the moment she was told of the tragedy, Ms Rickards told the inquest: "The hospital rang me at 5am and told me there was an emergency, so I shot up there.

"I assumed Eddie had fallen over so I sat in the car and put mascara on. I thought if he saw I was calm it would help him to keep calm.

"I thought he might have broken his arm or leg, but when I got to the ward they told me he was gone."

Consultant neurosurgeon Hussien El-Maghraby said human errors did happen but added: "What is serious was that it was not picked up for six days," he said.

Deputy Coventry coroner Louise Hunt asked him: "On a scale of one to ten, how serious would you say these collective failings were?" Mr El-Mugrahby replied: "Very serious - ten out of ten."

He admitted Mr McKean probably would not have died when he did if he had been given the drugs.

The inquest, at Coventry Magistrates' Court, heard the hospital had since improved ward rounds and made other changes to minimise the risk of a similar tragedy. Deputy medical director Dr Mike Iredale apologised to Mr McKean's family for the "unimaginable distress and grief" the hospital had caused them.

He accepted serious mistakes were made and promised the hospital would continue to improve its procedures.

But Ms Hunt said she was concerned some of those steps had still not been taken. She asked the hospital to send her written confirmation that those measures were in place within two months.

OUR SAY: PAGE 14

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Edward McKean collapsed in hospital.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Apr 2, 2013
Words:536
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