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Family’s plea to Tameside Hospital after death of former head teacher
Thursday 21st July 2016 @ 14:18 by Adam Higgins
Glossop Chronicle News

A grieving family is making a ‘learn by your mistakes’ plea to Tameside Hospital following the death of a popular head teacher.

David Little (pictured) died 12 months ago – two days after being admitted to hospital with a bowel condition.

His son, Dr Tom Little, said this week: “My father was renowned for his kindness and consideration to others. If this had been reciprocated in his care, it is more likely that he would still be enriching the lives of those around him.”

Mr Little, 71, who lived in Simmondley, Glossop, had been a head teacher at Hollingworth Primary School for 18 years.

His family say he was active, enjoyed walking, socialising and was part of Dinting Cricket Club’s ground staff.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Dr Little said: “My father was admitted to Tameside Hospital last year on June 9, he died subsequently on June 11.

“The family had grave concerns regarding his care and submitted them in writing to the coroner.

“After many extensions to the case, the coroner returned a verdict of ‘death by natural causes contributed by neglect’.

“He has also subsequently written a Regulation 28 report for the prevention of future deaths.”

The failings were quite extensive, but the main issues were failure of correct diagnosis despite clear clinical signs of bowel ischiemia; a 36 hour delay in reporting of a CT scan that indicated a life threatening condition, where the chances of mortality went from 3.3 per cent to 65 per cent, and improper clinical care and communication.

Mr Little is survived by his wife Jennifer, son Tom and grandchildren James and Isabelle.

Dr Little added: “All of us rely heavily on the NHS for the pivotal work they do and this burden is compounded further by the current under resourcing of the NHS.

“Medics are humans and therefore will make mistakes. However, there were fundamental and systematic failings in the core basics of my father’s care that contributed to an undignified, painful and premature death.

“Beyond medical basics, too much was missed on a humanistic level.

“His condition was described as ‘not unwell’, despite several clear clinical signs of a serious condition and severe pain, with the family constantly having to act as his advocate.

“Our main concern is that any lessons learned are not left in a Coroner’s Court, but used as a catalyst for real change at Tameside Hospital.”

Coroner John Pollard wrote to Tameside Hospital following the inquest, sending his report ‘to prevent future deaths’.

In the report, he says the hospital needs to take action to prevent any future deaths in similar circumstances.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Tameside Hospital said: “The Trust would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of Mr Little.

“We have now received the report from the Coroner. We will review the report and provide the Coroner with a response to the areas of concern raised.

“We are an open and transparent hospital and plan to meet with Mr Little’s family to discuss changes we will make and the lessons we have learned.”


By David Jones