Nil by mouth patient died after hospital staff gave food and water

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A SHEFFIELD patient died after hospital staff wrongly gave him food and water against strict medical instructions.

Mark Ullyatt, aged 40, of Hackenthrope, died in the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield almost three years ago after surgery to remove his bladder and prostate gland.

Now his family have received an out of court settlement from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which has admitted mistakes were made in the lead up to Mark’s death.

Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell took on the case and say hospital bosses need to learn lessons from the ‘basic and avoidable’ errors which were made.

Mark - paralysed from the waist down following a road traffic accident when he was eight years old - was recovering well after his operation.

But staff fed him a small amount of food and water, which got into his lung and caused him to develop pneumonia.

Instructions had said he was to be kept strictly nil by mouth, meaning he should not have been given any food or fluids orally.

Irwin Mitchell welcomed the hospital’s decision to conduct an investigation.

Medical law expert Anna Manning said: “Nothing can ever be done to turn back the clock, but we welcome the hospital’s decision to acknowledge that mistakes were made and to provide the family with a letter of apology.”

Mr Ullyatt’s sister Michelle Hilley said: “The whole family was devastated by Mark’s death.

“Throughout his life he always faced difficulties as a result of the road accident but he was a fighter.

“We have been very patient and have waited for more than two years for the trust to acknowledge that it made mistakes while caring for Mark.

“We only hope that things change so that no one else has to go through what Mark did and what our family has.”

Professor Mike Richmond, medical director at the Trust, said: “We always strive to provide the highest possible care to all our patients, which is why we have carried out a full review of the care provided to Mr Ullyatt to establish if lessons could be learned or changes made to practice which would limit the chances of this set of circumstances happening again.”