The BBC is reporting that a hospital where a girl bled to death has refused to publish the findings of its inquiry for fear of “endangering the mental health” of staff.
Kettering General Hospital conducted a serious incident investigation following the death of 17-year-old Victoria Harrison, who bled to death on a ward after an appendix operation in 2012, but has said it will not be making the full report public despite an FoI request.
The trust has undertaken a public interest test with regard to providing a chronology of events.
It believes that Section 38 (1) (a) should be engaged as it is likely to endanger the mental health of individuals [staff] linked to the events leading up to the tragic death of Victoria Harrison, should the information be in the public domain.
The reason for this is due to the risk of colleagues and peers being able to identify the individuals [staff] involved in the incident, and placing the individuals concerned under additional stress and pressure in addition to that already experienced during the investigation and inquest.
Having made this response, Kettering General refused to say how many staff had been disciplined, or their rank, claiming individuals would be identified, but it did reveal that no staff were dismissed.
An artery had been damaged during surgery, with the surgeon rectifying the issue, but not all nursing staff had been told about the bleeding and a number of nurses – incredibly – did not routinely read medical notes of the patients, or when they did could not always decipher surgeons’ handwriting, the inquest was told.
The last written formal observations were taken nine hours before Miss Harrison was found dead by nursing staff. It is staggering that Miss Harrison had texted her boyfriend to say she was in pain and bleeding, yet staff apparently did not know about it. No surprise therefore to hear that the coroner said:
Windows of opportunity to treat Victoria were lost – had these been acted upon the outcome may have been different.
I believe her chances of survival would have significantly increased.
Yet despite these failings, the hospital is telling the public they have no right to know how the failings leading to a preventable death have been addressed.
How are residents, forced to rely on the ‘care’ provided at Kettering General, supposed to have confidence in how they will be treated and subsequently looked after?
The interests of the hospital staff are being put first. This is another example of the public sector, the servant of the public, acting more like the public’s master in refusing to be held to account. We are just expected to provide the funding and take pot luck when it comes to putting our lives in their hands.