Man died at home hours after release from St Peter's Hospital, inquest hears

Robert Paterson died on February 22, 2013

Hospital: Cared for Mr Paterson

First published in News
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An elderly man from Walton collapsed and died after coughing up blood hours after returning home from hospital, an inquest heard.

Robert Paterson, 84, of Stonebanks, was released from St Peter’s Hospital on February 22, 2013, following a two day stay after he had blood “pouring from his mouth” on February 20.

On February 15, Mr Paterson was admitted to hospital for one day after he had blood coming from his mouth. Mr Paterson had previously had a brain tumour removed in January 2013 and an operation to remove lung cancer in July 2012.

His son, Neil Paterson, said: “He had the brain tumour and they got it out and did the job. He seemed to be making a full recovery but then I got a call saying he had been to St Peter’s and only learned about it on the Sunday [February 17].

“He called and said he had brought up some blood and they took him to St Peter’s as a precaution. Obviously then he had a couple of days at home and then same thing happened. My mum called him an ambulance and took him to St Peter’s and spent a few days there.”

Mr Paterson returned home at 5pm after his second hospital stay, had some dinner and then went to bed at 10pm. It was then he collapsed and died.

His son said: “We just feel as a family they should never had sent him home. Once, OK, but twice I don’t think that was right. He just should have stayed in hospital until they found what the cause of this was.”

In evidence read to the court, Dr Charlene McInnes, a foundation year two doctor at St Peter’s Hospital, described Mr Paterson’s episode on February 20 as lasting “about 15 minutes” and lost “about one pint of blood”.

Dr Melanie Irvin-Sellars said when she visited Mr Paterson on the ward, he had not been coughing or had any breathing problems, which she said would have been signs the blood was coming from his lungs.

She believed the blood was coming from his nose or mouth but he was booked in to have a brocostomy, a scan of the lung, on February 26.

Pathologist Dr Norman Ratcliffe, who carried out a post-mortem examination, said the major findings were in the lungs, with fresh blood and blood clots filling the major airwaves, with the right lung showing mild emphysema.

Summing up, coroner Dr Karen Henderson, said she believed Mr Paterson had received the appropriate care at St Peter’s Hospital and the symptoms could have occurred at any time.

She said: “It is unfortunate he had a life-ending bleed on the third episode. Dr Ratcliffe said he found a little pin prick in the lung and that was the cause of the bleed.

“Mr Paterson died from a rare recognised complication of major surgery for cancer. It is always unfortunate when something as rare as this happens but I think you are fortunate he was given that necessary care.”

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Paterson’s son said: “I don’t think there was anything more they could have done. I still believe they should have kept him in the hospital until they found the cause.

“He had a nice life while he was here, he was a nice bloke and he was not one for complaining.”

Originally from Carlisle, Mr Paterson set up home in Walton with his wife in the 1950s and worked as a BT telephone engineer at the Walton exchange for 33 years.

Mr Paterson leaves behind his wife Rita, children Neil and Lorraine, and five grandchildren.

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