A man died after A&E doctors discharged him from the hospital and “told him to drink Lucozade” despite the fact that he had vomited 100 times in 24 hours.
Nick Rousseau died in 2019 from an undetected obstructed intestine after doctors at Milton Keynes Hospital missed the life-threatening disease.
According to his “devastated” wife Kimberly White, the 47-year-old was sent home twice in three days and persuaded he “would be alright” since physicians suspected he had gastroenteritis.
Mr Rousseau, on the other hand, had an ischemic bowel, a condition in which the arteries to the intestine become blocked. He had visited his doctor several times and had lost three stone in weight over two years owing to vomiting and diarrhoea, but he had never been diagnosed.
In June, Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust paid his family, who were represented by Osbornes Law, a six-figure sum. While it did not concede wrongdoing, it did acknowledge that there were aspects of Mr Rousseau’s sickness that could have justified admission, inpatient supervision, and more tests to provide a final diagnosis.
His wife returned home in April 2019 to find him “lying in agony” on the floor, and he was transported to the hospital. A month later, he was “misdiagnosed” with stomach thrush, according to a statement from law firm Osbornes Law.
He was in “excruciating pain” by September 2019 and was rushed to A&E by ambulance but then sent home. He returned the next day only to be instructed to return home.
Ms White returned home on October 8, 2019, to discover her husband dead in the bathtub in a pool of blood.
She feels that if doctors had given him a CT scan, they would have discovered the bowel blockage.
Ms White, 33, said: “It was horrific to see how much pain Nick was in over those last few days, but the doctors kept on saying that he would be fine if he went home and drank Lucozade.
“It makes me really angry that the trust has never taken responsibility for what happened to Nick or apologised to me. That is all I have ever wanted from this. If I get that then I will feel like I have done everything I possibly could for Nick.”
She added: “I can still hear the sound of my scream when I found him. I know people talk about a broken heart, but my heart physically hurts. My life was ripped to shreds in that moment and everything changed … the whole episode has left me with PTSD.”
Mr Rousseau was sent home by Milton Keynes A&E on two occasions over three days, according to an inquest held in 2021.
The coroner, Sean Cummings, highlighted wider concerns about his A&E care after a clinician failed to perform two blood tests before Mr Rousseau was discharged.
Despite his blood revealing high amounts of the acid and clinical guidance needing a second test, the coroner expressed concern about the consultant’s decision not to perform a second lactate test, which is used to detect sepsis. Mr Rousseau, on the other hand, did not die of infection.
“The disregarding of the NICE guidelines simply because it is inconvenient is disturbing,” he said.
In a response letter, the trust argued that the second test would not have prevented Mr Rousseau’s death, notwithstanding the coroner’s findings.
Dr Ian Reckless, the trust’s medical director, said: “I am deeply sorry for the loss and pain Ms White has endured on account of Mr Rousseau’s death. The circumstances of Mr Rousseau’s death – at home having presented twice to hospital in recent days – were unexpected and harrowing for family members.
“Whilst Mr Rousseau presented to hospital with a rare condition which is notoriously difficult to diagnose, we accept that there were features of his illness which could have justified admission, inpatient observation, and further tests. In those circumstances, it is possible that a definitive diagnosis could have been made and treatments attempted.”
Dr. Reckless stated that the coroner’s criticisms of sepsis were unrelated to the condition that Mr. Rousseau arrived at A&E with and that the trust failed to recognise.
Jodi Newton, a partner at Osbornes Law, said: “Kimberley’s life has been devastated by the loss of her partner Nick after he was constantly failed by medical professionals. While the settlement is welcome, it leaves a bitter taste as the Trust has still not apologised properly or admitted blame.”