Family blast hospital staff over ‘significant failures’ in care
THE family of Robert Hart have hit out at hospital staff after a coroner ruled that medical failings were partly to blame for the Parklife his death.
Coroner Nigel Meadows ruled the 26-year-old from Rainow was ‘unlawfully killed’ after being attacked at a music festival in Manchester. However, he added that failures in medical care, including the misinterpretation of a CT scan revealing a serious head injury, also contributed.
Recording a narrative verdict after the six-day inquest, Mr Meadows said: “The deceased was unlawfully killed, but there was a failure to provide timely and appropriate access to advice from either a neurosurgical specialist registrar or an on-call consultant, and a significant failure to adequately and appropriately interpret the CT images, which contributed to the death but such did not amount to a new intervening act.”
The inquest heard how Dr Christos Gkolemis, the on-call neurosurgeon at North Manchester General Hospital where Robert was initially treated, accepted that he had misinterpreted the scan and was wrong to cancel an urgent transfer requested by staff.
Robert Macfarlane, an independent expert neurosurgeon, told the inquest it was ‘very probable’ that Robert would have survived if he had been transferred just two hours before.
Speaking after the inquest Robert’s mother, Elaine Hart, said she felt as though her son had ‘died twice’ due to the problems with his treatment.
She said: “It has been heartbreaking listening to the details of what happened and we still have a number of concerns about Robert’s care at North Manchester General and Salford Royal.
“Robert died twice, once at the hands of his attacker and once due to the hospital’s failings. We cannot come to terms with that.
“If he hadn’t been attacked, he wouldn’t have needed to go to hospital, but with correct treatment he wouldn’t have died.”
Speaking outside of court Robert’s father, Allan Hart added: “A series of errors contributed to my son’s death. Those admissions of failure we heard today took the life of my son. If I could change places with him, I would.”
Salford Royal’s Medical Director Dr Pete Turkington said: “The review into Robert’s care at Salford Royal highlighted that he did not receive the high standard of care we always pride ourselves on delivering and we have apologised unreservedly to his family for this. Following a full and detailed inquest, we were reassured that the coroner accepted the improvements we have implemented as a consequence of our investigation and that he ‘could not add anything of substance’ to the changes we have already made.”
Robert’s family have taken civil action against Salford Royal Hospital over their failures.
Despite a number of police appeals, the man who threw the fatal punch at Robert is still at large.
Speaking after the case, Det Supt Phil Reade made a new plea, adding: “We remain utterly dedicated to identifying and tracking down the man responsible for this mindless attack.
“We are just as determined not only to find Robert’s attacker, but also the people who seem intent on sheltering him from prosecution.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Greater Manchester Police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
●» Robert Hart pictured with mum Elaine, from Bollington