Inquest: Family of Stevenage man not informed of life-ending care

The inquest was held at Huntingdon Coroner's Court

The inquest was held at Huntingdon Coroner's Court - Credit: Archant

The family of man who died in hospital were not informed he had been placed on a life-ending care plan before the decision was made, an inquest heard yesterday (Wednesday).

Robert Goold, from Stevenage, died of bronchial pneumonia eight days after being placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Mr Goold, who also suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, died in February last year when food, fluids and oxygen were taken away under the system, which was developed under the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Liverpool’s Marie Curie Hospice in the late 1990s.

The 69-year-old was initially taken to Lister Hospital in Stevenage following a fall which injured his neck, back and skull.

When a bleed on his brain was discovered, he was transferred to the neurosciences critical care unit (NCCU) at Addenbrooke’s Hospital on February 3.

He died on February 25, eight days after being placed on the pathway.

Speaking during a coroner’s inquest yesterday, Dr Jonathan Coles, consultant anaethetist at the NCCU at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, said no member of staff had specifically referred to the pathway by name to Mr Goold’s family.

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Mr Goold’s daughter, Susan Phillips, said: “My father was able to understand a lot more than he could express and we, as a family, could understand him better than most when he tried to communicate with other people.

“We had initially accepted that he may die due to the severity of his illness but on the third day I just felt something wasn’t right.”

Peter Hutchinson, a consultant neurosurgeon at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, said: “I think if this was re-done, we would have had to have a more robust and blunt conversation with the family.

“I genuinely believe the right clinical management was undertaken but more could have been done at a communication level.”

The inquest, which started on Tuesday, has been adjourned until January 28, when the remaining witnesses will give evidence before a verdict is recorded.

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