An ombudsman has ruled that the death of a 75-year-old man, days before his wedding, occurred because of serious failings in hospital care.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) said the death of Andy Shewan was "avoidable", after he was sent into A&E at Whipps Cross University Hospital in northeast London feeling unwell.
The 75-year-old and and his fiancee June Richards, 80, were set to marry in January 2019, after 40 years as a couple, and were reassured by hospital staff that their big day would go ahead.
But his condition worsened and Mr Shewan was transferred to an acute unit where he suffered a cardiac arrest and died the following day.
PHSO Rob Behrens said the hospital failed to take appropriate action when Mr Shewan's condition worsened and he was left alone in a side room for more than an hour.
The ombudsman added that when the monitor indicated an "immediate deterioration", staff failed to call for an emergency clinician. An emergency doctor was only called for after 25 minutes, but they were "too junior and did not respond".
Mr Behrens also said there was a delay in completing and sending an investigation report to Ms Richards, which "did not acknowledge the extent of the problems with care or provide assurance that adequate service improvements had been put in place".
'I could have had him for another week... month... years'
Ms Richards, who was not called in time to say goodbye to her partner, said she is "very sad and very angry" about the entire ordeal.
"It's been three years and I still can't stop crying," she said. "He died in pain and on his own. It's so sad. I didn't get to say goodbye to him because I thought he would be coming home.
"We used to say to each other 'Aren't we a lovely little family, you, me and Lily?' - our lovely dog. Now, I sit here, and I think 'I've lost Andy'.
"His death was avoidable; he could've still been here. I could have had him for another week, or it could've been a month or years. They've taken such a lot from me that no one can give me back."
Trust ordered to apologise
Mr Behrens has made a series of recommendations to Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs Whipps Cross Hospital.
They include producing an action plan to ensure that the various failings identified will not happen again.
The Trust has also been ordered to pay Ms Richards £10,000 and write to her "to acknowledge and apologise for failing to prevent Mr Shewan's death".
Whipps Cross Hospital chief executive Ralph Coulbeck said: "We are deeply sorry for the serious failings in the care provided to Mr Andrew Shewan and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.
"We apologised unreservedly to Ms June Richards, paid the full compensation recommended by the ombudsman, and took steps to ensure this doesn't happen again."