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Hospital complaint into death upheld

A 70-YEAR-OLD man, who died after a blood vessel ruptured in his abdomen hours after being sent home from hospital with painkillers, might have survived had doctors thoroughly assessed and treated him, a watchdog has found.

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman upheld a complaint against NHS Borders in relation to a male patient, known only as Mr C, who was admitted to the accident and emergency department at Borders General hospital on October 3, 2011, after falling unconscious at home.

The doctor who examined him diagnosed him with cystitis, a urinary tract infection, and discharged him with antibiotics and painkillers.

However, within hours of returning home with his wife, Mr C had lost consciousness again and was taken back to hospital by ambulance where a scan revealed he was suffering from an abdominal aortic aneurysm – a ballooning of part of the large blood vessel in the abdomen – which had ruptured.

The SPSO report said Mr C's symptoms should have alerted medics to the need for an urgent ultrasound.

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