Hospital admits failure to admit Gateshead grandad caused his traumatic death

Call 0345 872 6666

Hospital admits failure to admit Gateshead grandad caused his traumatic death

The family of a former Gateshead bricklayer, who bled to death in front of his young grandson after a hospital failed to admit him, say their lives have been completely devasted.

Billy Nichols, who was 66, had recently had surgery on an artery in his leg and had symptoms of a severe infection. However, the medical team at the Freeman Hospital who were responsible for his care, left him at home without treatment, despite being told of his symptoms by community nurses who visited him at home.

When Billy got up to go to the toilet on 2nd January 2020 his leg started bleeding uncontrollably in front of his wife Eleanor, daughter Kerry and grandson Carter, who at the time was only eight-year-old. The family tried desperately to stem the blood loss and called an ambulance. Eleanor and Kerry tried to keep Billy calm while waiting for paramedics, however after they arrived, they were unable to save Billy and he tragically died.

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has now admitted that the failure to admit Billy for IV antibiotics on 26th and 27th December 2019, when he had flu like symptoms and signs of bleeding, caused his death. The hospital will eventually pay compensation for Billy’s death, however his loved ones say no amount of money could make up for the loss of the man who was the heart of their family.

Billy’s wife of more than 40 years Eleanor said she relives what happened to Billy every day, and the whole family is completely traumatised by witnessing his agonising death.

She said: “Billy and Carter were very close so witnessing what happened to his grandad has devastated him and he is in counselling. A young boy should not have to see their grandad dying like that. None of us should have had to see it. I had to work on Billy to try to keep him alive and Kerry had to take over. By the time my son Christopher got there it was too late. We were all screaming and crying.

“Carter was the apple of Billy’s eye. Billy was just a loving dad and grandad, a real family man and a true gentleman. What happened to him has ruined my whole life, I miss him so much.”

Danisha Jackson, a specialist medical negligence solicitor at law firm JMW, who is handling the legal case against the hospital trust, said Billy’s case points to wider issues at the hospital in the provision of safe care to surgical patents.

She said: “Billy’s surgery to clean out his artery was routine, yet the appalling follow-up care has led to his death in the most distressing of circumstances.

“Recognition and treatment of a surgical infection is basic care, and the failure to provide this has robbed this family of a much loved and irreplaceable husband, father and grandfather.

It is absolutely vital that lessons are learned from Billy’s death and that no other family has to endure such appalling failures.”

The coroner at the inquest into Billy’s death held on 20 April 2023 highlighted concerns about inconsistencies in understanding between the hospital and community nursing team about what to do if a vascular surgery patient develops signs of infection and also poor communication at the hospital when concerns were raised. Leila Benyounes, assistant coroner for Gateshead and South Tyneside, made a Regulation 28 Prevention of Future Deaths report, which requires the hospital trust to make changes to prevent the same mistakes from happening again.

Hospital internal investigation and coroner’s Regulation 28 reports available on request.

Did you find this post interesting? Share it on:

Related Posts