Leeds & West Yorkshire

St James's Hospital wrongly told man partner had died

Ann Saville
Image caption Mrs Saville, 71, had Acute Myeloid Leukemia and was also registered blind

A hospital trust admitted it needed to make improvements after a man was wrongly told his partner had died.

John Harrison, from Pudsey West Yorkshire, went to St James's Hospital in Leeds after his partner Ann Saville, had a cardiac arrest.

Mr Harrison said he "could tell she wasn't dead" when he arrived at the hospital on 22 February.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said the care was "appropriate" but improvements in procedures were needed.

Mr Harrison was called to the hospital on 22 February and said he was told "categorically" Ms Saville was dead.

"When I went into the room I would see Ann looking as if she was struggling for breath but was told it was an involuntary action," he said.

"I knew immediately she was breathing".

Image caption Mr Harrison said he "could tell she wasn't dead" when he arrived at the hospital.

Mrs Saville, 71, who had Acute Myeloid Leukemia and was also registered blind, died in July.

She had been admitted to the hospital with a high temperature and diarrhoea earlier in February.

Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust's report into what happened stated medical staff thought breaths taken by Mrs Saville after the resuscitation were "agonal" or "terminal and ineffective".

Mr Harrison had arrived at the hospital at about 06:30 GMT after a phonecall from the hospital.

"It is clear [he] was told at this point she had passed away," the report continued.

It also found there was no "specific guidance, procedure or consistent practice" in the trust for verification or confirmation of death.

Paul Cain, Mr Harrison's solicitor, said: "We will be writing to the trust... asking them to accept full responsibility."

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