Mum sues Sunderland hospital over son’s death

Elaine Winspear
Elaine Winspear
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A MOTHER is taking legal action against hospital bosses after claiming they failed to tell her doctors had placed an order not to resuscitate her son.

Carl Winspear, from Concord, Washington, who suffered from cerebral palsy, died from pneumonia at Sunderland Royal Hospital in January 2011.

Carl Winspear

Carl Winspear

An inquest into the 28-year-old’s death recorded a verdict of natural causes.

Doctors placed a Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) order on his file, but mum Elaine Winspear says they did not tell the family until the next day.

Elaine believes the order was made because it was physically impossible to resuscitate him due to his condition and has already raised the issue with Washington MP Sharon Hodgson.

The family also alleges doctors did not administer his medication appropriately.

Health bosses said they “strongly refute” all the allegations.

Mrs Winspear told the Echo: “We feel this should never have happened. We believe Carl was assessed on his disabilities rather than his condition. There was no need for a Do Not Resuscitate order to be issued without my consent.”

Lawyers acting for the family said they feel they had been let down.

Merry Varney, from the human rights team at Leigh Day & Co, who is representing Mrs Winspear, said: “This is another example of the damage done by failing to consult patients or their families about resuscitation decisions.

“Elaine felt she had expressed her clear views but was unaware that these may not be determinative, and that a DNAR was possible without her knowledge or consent.

“She has been left feeling that Carl was grossly let down by the hospital, that he did not receive drugs that could have lessened his suffering and that perhaps more could, and should, have been done for Carl but his doctors seemed heavily influenced purely by his disability.”

In July 2011 the Echo reported that an inquest into Carl’s death revealed there were gaps between some doses of antibiotics, due to the timing of drugs rounds at the hospital, and there was no record of another prescribed antibiotic being given at all.

Mrs Winspear added: “Regarding his medication, we will never know if he had had his medication as prescribed, if he would have been alive today.”

Carl’s aunt Sandra said: “Carl was a beautiful young man and a pleasure to know. He lived his 28 years with constant dedication and care from his mother and grandmother. His mother is devastated by his death.”

A spokesperson for City Hospitals Sunderland said: “While sympathising wholeheartedly with the family for their sad loss, the trust strongly refutes the allegations made and is filing a robust legal defence.”

Twitter: @SunEchoSteven