Neglect found to have contributed to Young man’s death at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle
1 October 2021

Neglect found to have contributed to Young man’s death at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle

Leila Benyounes represented the widow of a 31 year old, Mr Nicholas Dietzold, who died on 4th August 2020 following admission to Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle at an inquest which concluded on 20th September 2021 at Cockermouth Coroners Court.

A formal finding of ‘neglect’ was made by Assistant Coroner for Cumbria, Dr Nicholas Shaw, who concluded that Nicholas Dietzold’s death was due to natural causes contributed to by neglect.

Mr Dietzold had attended the Emergency Department at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven on 3rd August 2020. Following a diagnosis of small bowel obstruction, he was transferred to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle for surgical management. Dr Shaw found that his admission to hospital was massively delayed by miscommunications resulting in Mr Dietzold spending more than 4 hours on an ambulance outside the hospital.

The surgical registrar was not called until 2 hours after Mr Dietzold’s arrival. In the Emergency Department a clear treatment plan was made but Dr Shaw was satisfied that there was no evidence it was acted upon.

Apart from administration of an incorrect dose of morphine, Mr Dietzold received no care in the hospital between 2am and 7.45am when he was found collapsed in cardiac arrest in his cubicle in the Emergency Department.

The post-mortem report revealed the medical cause of death as aspiration of gastric contents due to small obstruction and Crohn’s disease. A serious incident report and CQC inspection were carried out following Mr Dietzold’s death resulting in a regulatory notice.

Dr Shaw was satisfied that Mr Dietzold’s death would have been avoided if Mr Dietzold had been admitted directly to the surgical ward when he was transferred to Cumberland Infirmary.

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust have acknowledged this and provided evidence to the inquest of many changes that the Trust state have been implemented in response to and following Mr Dietzold’s tragic death.

Ms Benyounes was instructed by Lynne Hall at Burnetts Solicitors and represented Rachel Dietzold, the widow of the deceased at the inquest.

Leila Benyounes is Head of the Inquests Team at Parklane Plowden Chambers and is ranked as Band 1 by Legal 500 for Inquests and Inquiries. Leila has been appointed to the Attorney General’s Treasury Counsel Panel A since 2010. Leila is appointed as Assistant Coroner for Gateshead and South Tyneside. Leila regularly represents interested persons in a wide range of inquests including Article 2 jury inquests and complex medical matters.  Her full profile can be accessed here.