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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Medics could have done more to help crash driver, court told

Medical staff could have done more to help a lorry driver who was injured in a serious crash and died weeks later, a court has heard.

pthaywardcleat
Cleared: Peter Hayward

Related: Driver spoke to police before he died from crash injury

Lorry driver Craig Wood, 45, died weeks after a collision on the A595 at Bothel, between Cockermouth and Wigton, in May 2012, passing away from complications from a leg injury he suffered during the crash.

Carlisle Crown Court heard how he later died of a pulmonary embolism, a blockage of the main lung artery, caused by a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), otherwise known as a blood clot.

It is the defence of the driver of the other vehicle involved, Peter Hayward, 53, of Cleator Moor, that the treatment Mr Wood received was negligent and so it was that which caused his death.

Hayward, who was also severely injured in the crash, denies causing death by driving without due care and attention.

Questions have been raised about a visit to Durham Hospital’s accident and emergency department by Mr Wood on June 14.

The court heard how Mr Wood, of Crook, County Durham went along, complaining of being short of breath and of other symptoms but doctors failed to properly rule out the possibility of a pulmonary embolism.

Speaking at the trial,Dr Patrick Kesteven, a consultant haematologist at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, said that more should have been done while Mr Wood was in Durham’s accident and emergency unit but could not say whether it counted as gross negligence.

He said: “I don’t know enough about what was going on that night. In isolation it is well below the standards [of care].”

He added that on looking through the initial medical report that a consideration of a pulmonary embolism was “really obvious” but defended A&E doctors saying “it might not have been obvious at the time”.

“I don’t know what was going on in casualty at the time or what was going on in that doctor’s mind. But that was well below the standard,” he added.

“The ideal one would be to order a CT scan. An alternative would be a large ultrasound scan to find a DVT. They are generally easy to organise. They didn’t try hard enough to exclude a pulmonary embolism.”

He also agreed with other medical evidence that the DVT would not have formed if Mr Wood had not been involved in the collision.

Previously jurors were read a statement that Mr Wood made prior to his death. In it he said Hayward’s black Volkswagen Passat “veered” in front of him and another car for “no apparent reason”.

The trial continues.

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