Family speak of heartbreak after Huntingdon dad-to-be died waiting for surgery on rare hernia

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Charity set up in Adam Hurst’s name to help other grieving families

The family of a Cambridgeshire dad-to-be who died as a result of a delay in treating a hernia at a Cambridgeshire hospital have spoken of their heartbreak – after the hospital trust admitted liability for the death.

Adam Hurst died aged 31 from a rare type of hernia hours after arriving at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon in December 2018.

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The builder, who was rolling on the floor in pain, was assessed in the ‘minor’s’ area of A&E rather than the ‘major’s’ department that deals with more serious incidents.

Adam and Victoria Hurst, and (inset) Alice-Rose Adam Hurst.Adam and Victoria Hurst, and (inset) Alice-Rose Adam Hurst.
Adam and Victoria Hurst, and (inset) Alice-Rose Adam Hurst.

Adam, of Huntingdon, should have been initially assessed within 10 minutes but waited 50 minutes, an internal NHS investigation report found. There was a further delay of nearly an hour in having a CT scan because of a fire alarm in the radiology department.

Approaching five hours after his admission, Adam suffered a cardiac arrest. He died around 50 minutes later.

"He was screaming in agony, rolling on the floor”

At the time Adam’s wife, Victoria Hurst, was 25 weeks pregnant with their first child. Victoria later gave birth to daughter, Alice-Rose Adam Hurst.

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Adam and Victoria HurstAdam and Victoria Hurst
Adam and Victoria Hurst

Victoria said: “Adam was in absolute agony and I knew I had to get him to hospital as soon as I could. Even at hospital his pain continued. He was screaming in agony, rolling on the floor and was very agitated.

“Despite this it felt like nobody was really listening to us nor really understanding the seriousness of his condition.

“Even more than five years on it remains difficult to understand how Adam went into hospital and within a few hours he was gone.

“Adam was the most loving, caring and affectionate person. He was always happy and would go out of his way to help people. He didn’t deserve to die, especially in the avoidable way he did.

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Alice-Rose Adam Hurst.Alice-Rose Adam Hurst.
Alice-Rose Adam Hurst.

“One of the hardest things to come to terms with is how he never got to meet Alice-Rose. He was so excited to become a dad; it’s all he could talk about. I know he would have been the most amazing dad.

“While Alice-Rose will grow up without her dad, we’ll never forget Adam. I tell Alice-Rose every day how much her daddy would have loved her and how proud he would be.

“Nothing can make up for what’s happened and Adam’s death but my focus is now trying to raise as much awareness as possible as to what Adam went through so hopefully others don’t have to suffer like he did.”

"The world lost one of good guys who always put helping others in need and their happiness above his own.”

Following Adam’s death, Victoria as well as friends and family, set up the Adam’s Rose charity which aims to provide a support network for people experiencing the death of a loved one. The charity also provides gift bags to bereaved families to take their loves one’s belongings’ home from hospital.

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Victoria added: “Not only did we lose someone special to us when Adam died, the world lost one of good guys who always put helping others in need and their happiness above his own.

“Support can’t undo what’s happened, but nobody should have to go through grief alone. The aim of the charity is to create communities of support that can grow together and be there for one another for support that only they can understand.”

North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Hinchingbrooke Hospital, has now admitted liability for Adam’s death and apologised.

Following legal submissions by Irwin Mitchell, North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust admitted that if Adam had undergone surgery at any time prior to his cardiac arrest, then he would have survived.

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An internal serious incident report by the Trust also found issues in Adam’s care.

"We failed Adam and his family, and for that we are truly sorry.”

Joanne Bennis, Chief Nurse, for North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We would like to offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to Adam’s family. We always try to do our best for our patients, but on this occasion, we failed Adam and his family, and for that we are truly sorry. Our staff strive to

provide high quality care at all times, and this was not the case in this instance.

“Following a thorough investigation we have implemented several changes that will help to prevent failings like this happening again. We are also extremely grateful for the support of the Adam’s Rose charity, set up in Adam’s memory, which supports families who are experiencing grief.”

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