Stafford Hospital Death Angers Family

Lisa Dowd, Midlands Correspondent

The family of a father of seven who died after a routine procedure at scandal-hit Stafford Hospital have told Sky News of their anger after discovering he was one of a number of patients who had suffered similar complications over a short period.

Alan Nash, 61, underwent a colonoscopy to check for cancer in March 2010, but died after his bowel was perforated.

The hospital has not admitted liability, but has reached an out of court settlement with his family.

The undisclosed payment comes just weeks before a public inquiry is due on serious failings relating to the needless deaths of up to 1,200 patients between 2005 and 2008 at the hospital.

"Dad was worried about going in but we felt all eyes would be on Stafford Hospital," said daughter Marie, 42, "so there wouldn't be any mistakes. It's one of biggest regrets we have that we talked him in to going".

Alan's wife Jenny, believes she heard the moment Alan's bowel burst.

"I was sitting in the waiting room and I did hear it", said the 61-year-old. "It was just like someone had been punched in the stomach. It was a 'gasp' if you like.

"It was quite loud and I didn't really take too much notice of it. It was only later when I asked the questions that I knew it was Alan that made that noise.

"I'm 99 per cent certain that's when his bowel was perforated. I was horrified that I heard that.

"I felt that this isn't right, he's come for a routine biopsy, how can this happen? And there was just little things happening throughout the day and a nurse said to me 'you'll probably find this happened at home, this happened before he came in'".

"I thought there is no way. Dad walked into the hospital, there is no way this happened at home, they're trying to pass the buck".

The family's solicitor launched her own inquiry. "When we first started to investigate Alan's death, we discovered that he was one of five patients within a four-month period in the endoscopy unit that had suffered similar complications," said Emma Rush, from Irwin Mitchell.

"That was really worrying because after the first inquiry everybody really thought that things were going to get better, but this shows, I think, that problems are still occurring."

Robert Courteney-Harris, medical director at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust said : "We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Mr Nash's family for their sad loss.

"After detailed investigations in relation to the care given to Mr Nash the Trust does not accept that there has been any breach of its duty of care to Mr Nash but we are pleased that settlement has been reached with the family."

The public inquiry, led by Robert Francis QC, is due to report back later this month.

Reports suggests it will recommend wide-ranging reforms of the National Health Service.

In 2009 a separate highly critical report by the Healthcare Commission revealed a catalogue of failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and said "appalling standards" put patients at risk.

In February 2010 an independent inquiry into events at the trust found that it "routinely neglected patients".

It recently emerged that the trust has paid out more than £1m in compensation to 120 victims of abuse or their families.