Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

My Life Is over, Says Grieving Widower

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

My Life Is over, Says Grieving Widower

Article excerpt

Byline: By Hilary Clixby

A widower whose wife died in front of him from a heart attack minutes after being discharged from hospital has spoken of his anguish after his family were awarded just pounds 1,500 damages by a court.

Former bus driver Anthony Ranson sued his local health authority, claiming the failure to diagnose his wife Gladys was suffering severe heart disease cost her her life.

But after hearing medical evidence, a judge at the High Court in Newcastle ruled on the balance of probability Mrs Ranson would not have survived no matter what treatment she had received,

Recorder Martin Bethel said there had been a "serious failure" on the part of hospital staff to diagnose what was wrong with Mrs Ranson, who was 49 when she died on February 9, 2000.

He also said he had the greatest sympathy for her husband and their teenage daughter Louise in their belief Mrs Ranson would still be alive had doctors done their job properly.

But giving his judgment yesterday, Recorder Bethel said: "I have found on the medical evidence that is most unlikely to have been the case and unhappily her heart disease was so serious she would have died anyway, no matter what treatment she had."

He awarded the family pounds 1,500 damages after concluding Mrs Ranson had suffered some unnecessary pain in the last two or three days of her life and also underwent an "unpleasant" and "irrelevant" exploratory procedure on the day of her death.

The County Durham and Darlington Acute Hospitals NHS Trust admitted a year ago breaching its duty of care by its failure to diagnose Mrs Ranson's condition.

It had offered the family pounds 65,000 in settlement of the claim earlier this week but the offer was turned down.

Mr Ranson, 54, of Denewood Close, Willington, near Crook, County Durham said afterwards he had paid more than pounds 14,000 from his pension to fund his case to date. …

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