Cyclist injured in collision died after being discharged from hospital twice

Inquest hears Brian Cottom’s rib fractures and collapsed lung initially missed after x-ray

A coroner’s inquest has heard that a York cyclist injured in a collision involving a car died after he was twice sent home from hospital.

Brian Cottom passed away at home eight days after the crash, in which a BMW was involved, on the city’s Malton Road on 3 June 2017. The coroner attributed no fault to the driver of the car.

York Press reports that Mr Cottom was treated at York Hospital’s accident and emergency department for a broken shoulder blade and discharged with his arm in a sling, a supply of analgaesics, and an appointment booked at the hospital’s fracture clinic.

However, two days later a consultant radiologist who was reviewing the x-rays that had been taken when he was admitted noticed that the 56-year-old had also sustained broken ribs and a collapsed lung, injuries that had not been diagnosed initially.

The hospital recalled Mr Cottom where he underwent a CT scan and had a drain put in his chest, before being transferred to the city’s Castle Hill Hospital for specialist chest treatment.

The drain was removed and once more he was discharged, on June 9, but died at home two days later as a result of his wounds becoming infected and adult respiratory distress syndrome.

The York Press says that a report compiled following an investigation by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust found that when admitted, Mr Cottom’s main concern was pain in his shoulder, and x-rays were undertaken to assess the extent of his injury there.

The report established that the injuries to his ribs were not spotted by a "succession of doctors of different grades of training and experience," until they were noticed by a consultant radiologist two days after his initial admission.

The trust, which said it “sincerely regretted” Mr Cottom’s death, said in the report that is reviewing its chest trauma management policy, as well as how trauma x-rays are reported.

A spokeswoman for York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “We take situations such as the events surrounding Mr Cottom’s death extremely seriously and all incidents of this nature are investigated thoroughly to prevent the likelihood of similar incidents happening again.”

“We have shared the findings of our investigation with Mr Cottom’s family and co-operated fully with the coroner. The recommendations made within the report have been implemented.”

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which manages the Castle Hill Hospital, pointed out that the coroner did not make any criticism of it.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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