Family complaint sparks investigation after Welwyn man dies at Lister Hospital

PUBLISHED: 14:20 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:25 28 August 2018

Keith Whitbread died at Lister Hospital earlier this month.

Keith Whitbread died at Lister Hospital earlier this month.


Health bosses are investigating the death of a Welwyn man after his family claimed he was neglected at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital.

Keith Whitbread, 71, was admitted with fluid on his legs in early July, but after suffering some sort of incident between the evening of Friday, August 3 and the following morning, he died four days later.

His wife, Angela, said the hospital did not contact the family following the incident, and she only found out something had happened because her husband called in the morning.

“I had a slurred phone call from Keith saying that he had passed out last night,” she said.

“Being a very worried and anxious wife I rang the ward and had four different stories of the event.

“I went in with my daughter on Saturday, August 4, to find him in a different bay and in a cabbage-like state.

“He was unable to feed himself, talk, walk, go to the toilet and move.”

Angela said the next few days were spent unsuccessfully hunting for answers, and the day after Mr Whitbread passed away she says she was told he should not have died and a post-mortem needed to take place.

She branded his overall treatment at the hospital a “total disgrace”, and said she decided to approach this paper after being told the investigation could take up to six weeks.

A spokesman for the East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs Lister Hospital, said staff who looked after Mr Whitbread had spent a lot of time, both before and after his death, helping the family understand just how ill he was.

The spokesman added that following Mrs Whitbread’s complaint, the NHS trust had started an investigation, which typically can take up to 30 days.

Mrs Whitbread raised numerous questions, which are being followed up, and detailed responses will be provided when the NHS trust writes to her formally with the findings, the spokesman said.

“Losing someone close to you is always difficult,” he added, “and where people – as was the case for Mrs Whitbread and her family – have got concerns about the care their loved one received, then we will always do everything we can to investigate them.”

He added that the NHS trust cannot comment in detail on the various criticisms as it should not prejudge the investigation’s findings.

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