How we use Cookies

Hospital vows to retrain staff after tragic death

Staff at Macclesfield Hospital failed to spot that Andrew Harlow had sepsis, an inquest heard

Macclesfield Hospital

Health chiefs at Macclesfield Hospital have vowed to improve training to spot a life-threatening illness after the tragic death of a patient.

Homeless former businessman Andrew Harlow, 51, was rushed to A&E after he was found on a park bench surrounded by 30 wine bottles, an inquest heard.

But sadly the dad-of-six could not be saved and died in hospital two weeks later from hypothermia and acute pancreatitis.

Jean Harkin, assistant coroner for Cheshire, told the court while she was satisfied Mr Harlow could not have been saved, doctors did fail to diagnose sepsis when he was first presented to them.

Mrs Harkin said: “If staff can be educated in delivering a service - as we will believed is now happening - then that can only be a good thing, meaning we have learned that lesson.

“Andrew didn’t get that early intervention but it wouldn’t have affected the outcome.”

The tragic case is now being used by East Cheshire NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, to train staff to spot sepsis sooner.

In a narrative conclusion Mrs Harkin said: “Andrew died from hypothermia and acute pancreatitis on a background of alcohol sclerosis. The delay in treatment did not impact on his death.”

Mr Harlow, from Wilmslow, was described as an ‘exceptionally talented’ salesman who earned a ‘substantial income’ and once lived an ‘affluent life’.

But when his business collapsed he lost everything, including his marriage, his brother Michael told the hearing.

Mr Harlow turned to alcohol and ended up living with his elderly mother, before becoming homeless, it was said.

Despite his own efforts and those of his family to get alcohol treatment, Mr Harlow could not stop drinking and ‘gave up trying’, his brother said.

On March 11 he was found on a park bench in Wilmslow by a concerned friend who called paramedics.

He died on March 25.

The hospital trust investigated his death and a its report recommended that staff were educated about the nuances of sepsis.

Coincidentally, the inquest at Macclesfield town hall was held on World Sepsis Day and Macclesfield Hospital held an awareness event.

Journalists

Rhiannon McDowall
Education reporter
Mike Glendinning
Sport reporter
Chris Slater
News reporter
Stuart Greer
Crime reporter
Karen Britton
Wilmslow and Alderley Edge reporter
Ben Turner
News reporter
Vic Barlow
Columnist