A MONMOUTH man died from undiagnosed rib fractures while in an Abergavenny hospital, a coroner ruled.
George Lonsdale, 84, was admitted to Nevill Hall Hospital following a fall at his Monmouth home in June last year.
But he died less than 12 hours later from a haemothorax, blood within the chest, caused by fractured ribs, an inquest at Gwent Coroner’s Court in Newport heard.
Gwent Coroner, David Bowen concluded that Mr Lonsdale’s death was due to an undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated injury sustained in a fall.
At the inquest hearing, Mr Lonsdale’s son, Brent, said he was informed by a family member that his father was in hospital but was alright.
Staff nurse, Julie Owen gave evidence explaining that Mr Lonsdale had complained of back pain while on a trolley and was given pain killers after being admitted for a fall.
He was given a routine chest x-ray, which didn’t give staff any cause for concern.
Shortly after midnight, a patient informed staff that Mr Lonsdale had tried to get out of bed and was on the floor. Mr Lonsdale was moved to a side ward for closer observation.
Also giving evidence was the sister in charge, Anita Evans who explained nursing staff were concerned at 1.30am that Mr Lonsdale’s pulse rate was erratic, but a doctor gave reassurance.
At 4.15am, his concentration of oxygen in the blood reduced and he was given an oxygen mask, the inquest was told.
By 5am, he seemed agitated and staff noticed his catheter bag was empty so procedures were undertaken to check it.
But Mr Lonsdale became quiet and clammy before going into cardiac arrest, the inquest heard.
CPR attempts failed and his death was recorded at 6.16am on June 23, 2013.
Dr Mike Webberley said that the chest x-ray didn’t show any evidence of rib fractures but that it could not be ruled out.
It did show a small amount of fluid in the chest cavity, but that was thought to be an infection.
A post-mortem examination showed that there were fractured ribs on the right side of the chest and showed bleeding over hours.
Following the inquest, a spokesman for the Aneurin Bevan Health Board said: “Whilst it is not appropriate to comment on the specific details of the care provided it is recognised that it is, in some cases, not possible to detect some fractures from an x-ray. We fully appreciate the distress this has caused the family and we offer them our condolences.”