Police probe Sheffield OAP’s death

Thomas Milner
Thomas Milner
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A police investigation has been launched into the hospital treatment of a dying Sheffield grandfather - amid fears records of his drug doses were deliberately changed.

Tom Milner, aged 76, died on the palliative care ward at the Northern General Hospital, where he was being treated for end-stage leukaemia.

Afterwards his family made a series of complaints about his care, claiming he was not given enough morphine to relieve the pain he suffered in his last two days.

They said the retired electrician, of City Road, was left in agony.

Now, more than seven years on from Mr Milner’s death, South Yorkshire Police has begun an investigation.

The case has been sparked following allegations records showing the morphine doses given to him were altered.

It is believed police are also studying stock levels of the drug.

But a spokeswoman for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Northern General, said it did not consider any drug record ‘corrections’ to be a ‘deliberate attempt by staff to cause detriment to Mr Milner’, and a number of reviews by independent clinical bodies found no action to be taken.

Mr Milner died in January 2006, and his case was later highlighted in a critical report by The Patients’ Association.

His daughter, Jan Brooks, said her dad was in so much pain he was ‘literally pulling at the sheets with tears coming down his cheeks’.

She said he was given 10 milligrams of morphine over 55 hours, but needed much more. His dose was eventually increased an hour before he died.

Jan said: “After being given so much contradictory information over several years about the administration of morphine to my dying father, we now await the conclusion of the police investigation.”

The hospital trust spokeswoman said: “Our hospitals are recognised as providing a very high standard of care and so we were obviously concerned to receive the complaint from Mr Milner’s family in 2006. We undertook a full review and also supported an independent review by the Healthcare Commission. We have acknowledged there were some aspects of Mr Milner’s care which could have been improved, but the commission found staff did act appropriately and within professional guidelines.

“We can also confirm the Nursing and Midwifery Council and Health Service Ombudsman have also not taken any action.

“On the specific issue of the drug records, we have discussed this extensively with Mr Milner’s family and do not consider any corrections in the records were a deliberate attempt by staff to cause detriment to Mr Milner.”

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman confirmed an investigation was under way.

Last week The Star revealed three staff members at Sheffield Children’s Hospital have been suspended following the death of a baby girl.