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Hospital Trust Fined £100,000 after Patient Deat

Southampton University Hospitals Trust has been fined £100,000 after pleading guilty in the case of the death of Sean Phillips, 31 following a routine operation//. The trust has pleaded guilty for failing to supervise doctors following the operation.

Sitting at Winchester Crown Court, Mr Justice Cresswell also ordered the trust to pay £10,000 in costs following the health and safety prosecution prompted by the death of Sean Phillips, 31, at Southampton General Hospital in June 2000.

Senior house officers Amit Misra and Rajeev Srivastava were convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence in 2003, following which they were sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years.

According to the judge "Common sense dictates that a reasonable standard of care must pertain seven days a week, 52 weeks a year."

Mr Phillips had been admitted to Southampton General Hospital on June 23 2000 to repair torn knee ligaments. Although the operation was successful, an infection that Mr Philips could not deal with set in and toxins started to build up in his body in a rare reaction.

Although there were symptoms of high temperature, high pulse rate and low blood pressure both Amit Misra and Rajeev Srivastava failed to diagnose the condition or seek help and advice from senior doctors even though they visited Mr Phillips eight times over two days.

Even in the days running up to his death there had been reports of substandard performance" of senior house officers (SHO) in the trauma and orthopaedic department where Mr Phillips was being treated.

The court heard that Misra's consultant, David Warwick, had very little direct contact with SHOs and left it to senior registrars and nurses to deal with any problems. Although other consultants would go on ward rounds and supervise junior doctors more closlely this approach to supervision and management was not formalised in the trust.

Richard Liss
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