Grandfather died after hospital staff washed his lungs out with cleaning fluid by mistake

Laura FitzPatrick
William Hannah, 68, had his lungs accidentally washed out with cleaning detergent at Salford Royal Hospital - Hannah family/MEN MEDIA

A grandfather died after hospital staff washed his lungs with cleaning detergent instead of saline, a report has found.

William Hannah, 68, from Bolton, had diluted cleaning liquid meant for sterilising medical equipment pumped into his lungs, according to a new report from Salford Royal Hospital.

He died days after the emergency operation, which had been arranged to clear out his lungs and allow him to breathe.

An investigation is now under way as to whether the mistake contributed to his death.

Mr Hannah, who was well known in the Manchester music venue scene, had been admitted to Salford Royal Hospital after being hit by a car in September last year.

The accident left the father-of-two with a traumatic brain injury and haemorrhage among other serious wounds, including fractures.

Mr Hannah was moved to the hospital's Critical Care Unit a day later where he was placed on a ventilator. He then developed a lung infection which required emergency intervention to improve his breathing.

A report from the hospital reveals that the trolley containing equipment for his bronchoscopy had not been sufficiently stocked before the operation.

An image from the Serious Incident Report shows the confused liquids Credit: MEN MEDIA

A member of nursing staff was asked by the consultant to get some saline so the bronchial lavage, a procedure which pumps a small amount of fluid into the lungs before being removed, could go ahead.

However, the stock of the correct liquid had run out 18 days before the operation and  lancer solution, a cleaning detergent was used instead.

The bottle containing the wrong liquid had been left without a label and subsequently pumped into Mr Hannah’s lungs.

Mr Hannah’s daughter, Lisa said the family were shocked and that the mistakes have left the family devastated.

She said: “This is supposed to be an outstanding hospital but this was an appalling and unbelievable mistake.

“Unfortunately, we do not feel that the trust has treated us with the compassion and respect we would have expected during the course of the investigation.

“Our dad didn’t deserve to have this happen to him and that’s why we are trying to ensure that no other families suffer as we have.

Salford Royal Hospital carried out a serious Incident report after Mr Hannah's death

According to Ms Hannah, the hospital's response to her father’s death was inadequate.

She said: “It took an inordinate amount of resilience and time to receive answers from the hospital and we do not want any other family to have to work so hard in future.”

Manchester law firm JMW are currently investigating the care provided to Mr Hannah in the run-up to his death.

The firm’s head of clinical negligence, Eddie Jones, said: “The case raises significant concerns and it is clear that steps need to be taken to ensure that all staff at Salford Royal Hospital receive appropriate training to safeguard patient safety.

“This incident has been very traumatic for William’s family who have not only had to deal with his death but also these appalling circumstances.”

At this stage, the hospital is unable to determine the impact of the mistakes and whether or not they contributed to Mr Hannah’s death.

Dr Pete Turkington, medical director from Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We once again offer our deepest sympathies to William Hannah’s family for the loss of their much loved family member.

"The review of Mr Hannah’s care at Salford Royal highlighted that he did not receive the high standard of care we always pride ourselves on delivering and we apologise unreservedly to his family for this.

"We have since introduced new measures to ensure something like this will not happen again.

"We continue to work with the coroner to determine whether any failings by the trust caused or contributed to Mr Hannah’s death."

He also disputed the claim that their response to Mr Hannah's death has been inadequate.

He added: "Salford Royal has ensured that the family have been kept fully informed of the investigation process. The family were informed of the incident following Mr Hannah’s sad death on 16 September 2017.

"Since then, the Trust has held meetings with the family on a number of occasions in order to personally apologise and discuss the Trust’s investigation report. We will continue to support the family during this distressing time.”

An inquest is scheduled for February next year at Bolton Coroner’s Court.

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