Man's death was due to 'avoidable failures'

‘Errors’ in the care given to a Binbrook father by Lincolnshire health services contributed to his tragic death, it has been revealed.

David Cove's death was due to 'substandard care'
David Cove's death was due to 'substandard care'

The family of David Cove, who died in 2017, has received compensation from Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust after it admitted the care he received was not up to standard.

Mr Cove attended his GP surgery in June 2017 after complaining he had difficulty in breathing for more than a week and was coughing up flecks of blood.

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The GP attempted, unsuccessfully, to refer him to the on-call physicians for emergency admission to the Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby, but was unable to make contact after being on hold for more than 30 minutes.

Mr Cove was then sent to the A&E department for emergency admission via ambulance with a referral letter for the on-call medical team.

However, he was not met by the medical team, and instead was triaged in the A&E department and then reviewed by a locum doctor.

Despite further observations showing abnormal findings, he was discharged home with antibiotics.

The following day, Mr Cove complained of further breathing problems,resulting in an ambulance being called, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

An internal investigation conducted by the trust identified root causes which contributed to the death of Mr Cove, including the inability to contact the on-call team at the Diana Princess of Wales Hospital.

A coroner’s inquest said Mr Cove’s death was caused by a massive bilateral pulmonary embolism and cardiomyopathy.

It was found there was a failure to consider Mr Cove had a pulmonary embolism, where treatment would have avoided his sudden death.

Dean Cove, David Cove’s son, said: “It is heartbreaking to know that my father’s death could have been avoided had his healthcare been provided with greater attention to detail. I miss my father greatly, he was taken from us far too soon, and no settlement can bring him back.

"I hope lessons are swiftly learned so no other family has to suffer due to these types of failings by medical professionals.”

Sonia Rani, Solicitor at Hodge Jones & Allen said: “In this sad case there was a clear failure to obtain the deceased’s proper medical history in A&E, which unfortunately led to the failure to diagnose a pulmonary embolism. We must continue to hold our health providers to higher standards and work to prevent such tragedies. If handled differently, staff at Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby could have avoided Mr Cove’s premature death. We are glad that we were able to work in collaboration with the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to secure a settlement for Mr Cove’s family which recognises the impact of his death. However, no amount of compensation can make up for the tragedy of his death. Lessons must be learnt, vital information must be shared between clinicians to avoid, potentially, easily preventable deaths in the future.”

Peter Reading, the Trust’s chief executive, said: “I would like to extend my sincere apologies and my deepest condolences to the family of the late Mr Cove for the errors in the care he received at Grimsby hospital in 2017.

“We accepted liability for this at the earliest opportunity and apologised to the family at the time.”