Tributes paid to Sheffield pilot who died following delays in hospital treatment

British Airways pilot Captain James Bedforth, aged 51, from Sheffield, died from deep vein thrombosis following a delay in his hospital treatment.
British Airways pilot Captain James Bedforth, aged 51, from Sheffield, died from deep vein thrombosis following a delay in his hospital treatment.
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Tributes have been paid to a Sheffield pilot who died from deep vein thrombosis following a delay in his hospital treatment.

British Airways pilot Captain James Bedforth, aged 51, from Wortley, should have been treated 'within an hour' on arrival at hospital after collapsing at home, according to experts.

British Airways pilot Captain James Bedforth, aged 51, from Sheffield, died from deep vein thrombosis following a delay in his hospital treatment.

British Airways pilot Captain James Bedforth, aged 51, from Sheffield, died from deep vein thrombosis following a delay in his hospital treatment.

Instead he was only assessed two-and-a-half hours after admission at Barnsley District Hospital and had to wait for blood-thinning drugs which could have saved his life.

An inquest at Sheffield Coroner's Court heard that the pilot had visited the hospital two months previously with a pain in his leg but was not given a full leg scan which 'might have provided valuable treatment' said Coroner Chris Dorries in his findings.

Despite medical investigations in accordance with NICE guidelines blood clots in his lower left leg were not detected and he was discharged only to be re-admitted on June 29, 2015 - only to die a day later.

Mr Dorries is now writing to the Health Secretary about the case and inviting him to consider 'whether further, up to date, research might now be appropriate into the potential benefit of lower leg scanning'.

Widow Cathy paid tribute to 'the kind of person everybody loved'.

She said: "James was always so happy, cheerful and funny, everybody loved him. His death has left a huge hole in the hearts of his many family and friends.

"James loved his family and his many nieces and nephews loved him. Despite working from Heathrow Airport, James lived in Yorkshire so he could be close to his parents and look after them."

She added: "It's extremely disappointing that, had doctors only scanned his lower leg, we wouldn't be in this tragic situation now."

The Coroner criticised the hospital for not giving Captain Bedforth 'safety net' information after his first admission outlining that symptoms such as shortness of breath should result in immediate medical attention 'or his life could be in danger'.

The normally fit and healthy BA pilot had experienced a shortness of breath at Shanghai the day before he flew back and collapsed, the hearing was told.

Doctors were aware his record of flying could raise the odds of him contracting DVT but two experts told the inquest that the delays in his treatment were 'significant'.

Anaesthetist Dr Ye Myint, who has written guidelines on treating DVT patients, said the pilot should have been seen within an hour.

"My personal opinion is that the delay may have changed the outcome," he told the inquest.

The coroner said: "I am reinforced in my suspicions about a lack of detailed safety-netting because I consider it unlikely that a senior pilot of Captain Bedforth's experience would have placed himself on duty on the flight deck of an aircraft if he had considered himself likely to collapse or thought himself potentially seriously ill."

He said he formed the view that the pilot 'had not realised the seriousness of his breathlessness'.

The pilot was given a blood-thinning drug at more than three hours after admission on the second occasion which Dr Fletcher said should have been given two hours post-admission "at the very latest".

But Mr Dorries said he could not say the pilot would have survived if treated earlier.

The pilot was given too much blood-thinning medication which led to over anticoagulation and this led to a fatal brain haemorrhage.

Mr Dorries recorded the cause of death as deep vein thrombosis.

He considered whether negligence played a part but decided that none of the issues raised would have prevented the pilot's death.