Isle of Wight patient sent home on first day of Covid-19 lockdown almost died

A patient almost died after being misdiagnosed and sent home from hospital on the first day of the lockdown as the NHS curtailed many normal services to focus on Covid-19. However, St Mary’s hospital on the Isle of Wight rejected repeated pleas by them for doctors to help him, even though his health was deteriorating sharply. Mary Smith, of the solicitors Novum Law, who are representing the man in his complaint against the trust, said his plight highlighted the growing number of cases that were emerging of people whose health had suffered because they could not access normal NHS care in recent months. “If the hospital had got the diagnosis right in the first place, or not discharged him when they cleared the ward on the day of the lockdown, all this would never have happened.” Her husband was admitted to St Mary’s on 22 March with pain in his abdomen and groin from a flare-up of an existing hernia problem. The patient had to spend three weeks in hospital after he was readmitted, but infection control procedures at St Mary’s to reduce the spread of the coronavirus meant his wife was not allowed to visit. In a letter to the patient acknowledging that mistakes were made, Isle of Wight NHS trust’s chief executive, Maggie Oldham, apologised and said: “The trust accepts that had surgery on the right inguinal hernia been undertaken during the admission of 22 to 23 March 2020 the subsequent pain, sepsis and numerous returns to theatre would have been avoided.” A spokesperson for the Isle of Wight trust said: “We sincerely apologise for the experience that this person had in our care, following a misdiagnosis in March 2020 that resulted in the patient having to spend a long time in hospital during April and May. The leader of England’s surgeons on Tuesday warned that it would be “four or five years” before the NHS could again give people non-urgent surgery within the target of 18 weeks. If there was a second wave of Covid-19, patients needing cancer surgery, a cataract removal or hip or knee replacement could potentially have their operations in one of the Nightingale hospitals, which were built to help with the pandemic but quickly mothballed, he added.