North East Wales

Betsi health board pays out over man's sinusitis death

Jason Langton Image copyright Mercury Press/Caters News

A young dancer killed by a common infection which caused an abscess on his brain was twice turned away from A&E.

Jason Langton, 20, who had sinusitis, was sent home from Wrexham Maelor Hospital days before his death in 2010.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board admitted liability for Mr Langton's death and awarded his family a five-figure settlement.

His family, from Chester, said the death should never have happened.

Mr Langton's mother, Jane, 53, said: "If people miss things once that is understandable, but this was not just once.

"When doctors say, 'take him home, it will be ok', you trust what they are saying and you do not answer.

"Looking back we should not have taken no for an answer. That plays through your mind - what could have been different."

Mr Langton first visited his GP suffering from sinusitis in April 2010.

It is a common condition in which the lining of the sinuses - small, air-filled cavities behind the cheekbones and forehead - become inflamed, usually due to a viral infection.

He was repeatedly prescribed nasal spray and antibiotics but these had no effect.

In the weeks leading up to his death, he suffered severe headaches, was frequently sick and lost weight.

On 8 November, he was in so much pain his sister Sam called an ambulance and he was rushed to Wrexham Maelor Hospital with an irregular heartbeat.

However, he was later discharged, and his condition worsened.

Doctors told Mr Langton to go back to his GP if he felt no better - and he did so on 11 November.

After examining him, the doctor told him to come back for an urgent review if things had not improved after the weekend.

Sent home

But on 13 November, Mr Langton was found collapsed on his bedroom floor.

He was rushed back to Wrexham Maelor and given antibiotics, but no X-rays or brain scans.

Mr Langton's family claim that, if he had been scanned, doctors would have discovered his brain abscess and could have operated to drain it - meaning he would have stood a better chance of recovery.

But he was sent home in a wheelchair and went to bed at 22:00 GMT.

By 08:00 the following day his partner found he had turned blue and stopped breathing.

After again being taken to hospital, scans revealed a 6cm by 4cm (2in by 1.5in) abscess on the right frontal lobe of his brain.

He was then transferred to intensive care but was already brain dead and died later that day.

'Life and soul'

Paying tribute, Mrs Langton she "cannot forgive herself" for not forcing doctors to keep him in hospital.

She added: "He was the life and soul of the party.

"Looking back, we should have realised earlier something was seriously wrong. Jason lost a stone in weight, his face was gaunt and he looked like someone from a prisoner of war camp."

A spokesman for Betsi said: "We wish to again extend our sincere condolences to Mr Langton's family for their sad loss.

"The health board did learn from this sad experience and changes were put in place to prevent a similar situation arising in the future.

"Although we unable to comment in detail on this case, we can confirm that matters have been settled following due legal process."