Treated like ‘an animal’: Family suing NHS after Dundee dad died hours after being sent home from A&E

Brian and Jacky on their wedding day.

The family of a Dundee man who died from massive internal bleeding hours after being sent home from A&E are suing NHS Tayside.

Brian Sinclair, 65, from Arbroath Road, attended Ninewells Hospital in December 2014 — doubled over with pain, which he believed was in his back.

Despite protests from his family, who believed Mr Sinclair was in a life-threatening condition, he was sent home from the hospital with painkillers.

Just five hours later, he collapsed and was rushed to hospital where he died.

It was later found that he had suffered an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

His family allege standard practice for someone with Brian’s symptoms wasn’t followed, surgery to correct the issue would have been a low risk operation and that he would be alive today if protocols had been followed.

Brian Sinclair

Wife Jacky said that Brian had gone to bed but, when she went upstairs to give him his medication, it became clear that he was gravely ill.

She said: “He was saying ‘Jacky, Jacky help me’. I grabbed his hand and he fell back onto the bed – at that point I phoned 999. I can’t fault the paramedics, they came into the room and started doing CPR.”

Jacky said Brian had been working in the garden when he initially began to feel ill. His conditioned worsened and they decided to take him to A&E.

She said: “One dig right into the ground and he said that was him because he was feeling ill. I couldn’t move the fork he had in the garden, it has been three years and I can’t bring myself to move it.

“Brian was my husband, he was my best friend, we were together for 20 years, he made me happy — and just like that I lost my best friend.

“If someone could grant me one wish, it would be to have him in this house right now. I still sit and wait for him to come back through that door.”

The incident has led the family to take the health board to court, seeking damages for medical negligence.

Solicitor Danny Devine, of Muir Myles and Laverty, said: “I can confirm I represent several members of the deceased’s family and I can also confirm I have instructed specialist medical negligence solicitors at Drummond Millar in Edinburgh and raised a court action in the Court of Session.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said: “As this is a legal matter it would be not be appropriate to comment.”

‘We’ll suffer for the rest of our lives’

The daughter of the late Brian Sinclair has told of the moment her dad turned to her as they left the hospital and said “they are sending me home to die”.

Gillian, 40, told of Brian’s trip to A&E — saying that her father had repeatedly told doctors he “felt like he was dying” and compared his treatment to that of “an animal”.

Brian with daughter Gillian

And she spoke of her anguish that her dad will never have the chance to meet her son.

Gillian said: “I have had a baby since he died.

“It just breaks my heart knowing that he won’t ever know him.

“We will suffer from this for the rest of our lives.

“He even told the doctor he felt like he was dying.

“The doctor was telling a junior doctor what to do and she kept going back and forth asking questions.

“Dad should have been physically examined.

“If they had done that then they would have realised that it wasn’t an issue with his back.

“They didn’t even physically examine him, he was told to press on his own body — he was just pressing anywhere.

“He was in the hospital — all the signs were there.

“They didn’t do their job properly.

“Now I have lost my dad and my kids have lost their granddad.”

“I felt so helpless at the time – I just wanted them to listen to me.

“I still feel helpless now.”