Patient died at Hereford's County Hospital waiting for intensive care bed

First published in News Ledbury Reporter: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A SURGEON has spoken of his frustration at the death of a Herefordshire man who was denied access to potentially life-saving treatment because of a lack of hospital beds, an inquest heard.

Doctor Allan Corder, who is based at Hereford County Hospital, said he tried in vain to get an intensive therapy unit (ITU) bed for 55-year-old Nigel Burgess at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

But he was told all the beds were taken meaning Mr Burgess, of Roman Way, Ross-on-Wye, had to stay in Hereford where he died just hours later.

A hearing at Hereford Town Hall this week was told that less than three weeks before the patient’s death in July last year he had surgery in Birmingham to remove a pre-malignant duodenum.

He was discharged back home but in the early hours of July 17 went back to the County Hospital suffering abdominal pain.

Dr Corder said he wasn’t happy with Mr Burgess’s condition from the moment he first saw him and unsuccessfully tried to secure him a QE bed.

He also suggested “swapping patients” to free up space but was told this couldn’t happen.

Later that afternoon Mr Burgess’s condition deteriorated. He was operated on but later died.

“His chances of survival would have been greatly increased had we transferred him to Birmingham earlier,” said Dr Corder.

“I felt the patient’s interests were not being served.”

Simon Bramhall, a surgeon at the QE, told the hearing he advised Dr Corder he would try to arrange Mr Burgess’s transfer to Birmingham.

“I didn’t discuss with him whether there were any ITU beds because at the time I didn’t know,” said Mr Bramhall.

“While he was stable I believed the best option was still for him to come to Birmingham. I was trying to facilitate his transfer but I cannot take responsibility until he arrives.”

Deputy county coroner Roland Wooderson said Mr Burgess died from a tubulovillous adenoma of the duodenum.

Recording a narrative verdict he acknowledged the efforts made to transfer him to Birmingham but that the QE was not able to accept him as no ITU bed was available.

The coroner added that he was kept at the County Hospital where his condition deteriorated and he died on July 20.

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