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Fire at a Hampshire hospital delayed ambulance for pensioner, inquest hears
A FIRE at a Hampshire hospital delayed paramedics getting a seriously ill pensioner to hospital, an inquest heard.
Southampton Coroner’s Court heard that the 83-year-old, who had suffered from kidney problems in the past, was admitted the day after his GP had first visited his home after he complained of being unwell to his nieces, who helped care for him.
Initially Dr Neeraj Sonpal, from Blackthorn Health Centre, suspected a renal infection and prescribed antibiotics to fight that.
But on his return visit the next day, Dr Sonpal called for an ambulance to arrive within four hours as Mr Edwards’ condition had deteriorated.
However, the court was told that due to a fire at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, which caused £10m of damage, the ambulance was delayed and Mr Edwards didn’t arrive at hospital until after 10pm on December 9.
Palliative care By that stage Mr Edwards had suffered a fit, had wheezing across his chest and after treatment failed to trigger any improvement, the decision was taken to give him palliative care only.
Mr Edwards died a short time later in the early hours of December 10.
As previously reported, more than 100 firefighters battled the blaze at the hospital which ripped through a building housing the MRI scanner.
In a statement to the coroner Mark Ainsworth, from South Central Ambulance Service , said that resources were required at the hospital which depleted the number of vehicles required for non-emergency work.
Pathologist Dr Adrian Bateman told the court that he found “subtle” evidence of bronchial pneumonia in Mr Edwards’ lungs but said that it was in the early stages and may have only developed in the hours leading to his death.
He added that this may have stemmed from Mr Edwards’ serious underlying renal problems, which would undoubtedly have weakened his immune system and made him susceptible to picking up an infection, particularly at his age.
Coroner Keith Wiseman recorded a verdict of death by natural causes and added that it was difficult to tell if an earlier admission to hospital would have made a difference or not.
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