Inquest recognises hospital’s failings in care of Sidmouth dad

Calvin Marchant

Calvin Marchant - Credit: Archant

The family of a Sidmouth father of four hope lessons will be learned to prevent another tragedy after an inquest heard his unexpected death in hospital could have been avoided.

A coroner said there had been a number of ‘errors, omissions and oversights’ in the care of Calvin Marchant, 48, at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E). He had been admitted on January 2 last year with acute pancreatitis, but his condition was not reviewed by senior doctors the following day, despite his family’s concerns.

Sidmouth Jewellers owner Mr Marchant was able to leave his bed in a confused state and collapsed in a hospital corridor. He was found by a porter and died after resuscitation attempts failed.

Recording a narrative conclusion this week, coroner Lydia Brown said Mr Marchant’s death could have been avoided.

Following the inquest, Mr Marchant’s family said in a statement: “We all continue to be affected each day by what we feel was an unnecessary loss. Calvin was such a huge presence in our family and the local community.

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“He was a unique and irreplaceable part of Sidmouth life – everyone who knew him remembers him as a kind, compassionate man who went out of his way to help others. The tragedy of his death has been a loss not just to our family, but to all the people whose lives he touched. We still have concerns about Calvin’s treatment at the RD&E and why he was allowed to deteriorate so dramatically. While we credit the hospital trust for its frank internal inquiry, we can only hope that the lessons from Calvin’s death are taken very seriously.”

The family was represented by solicitor Laurence Vick, of Michelmores, who said the case had important national implications for resourcing, weekend cover and consultant availability.

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He said: “The coroner slammed the RD&E for multiple failures and missed opportunities to deal with Calvin’s treatable illness. Her conclusive verdict was that his was an avoidable death. The family, nevertheless, take comfort from the fact that crucial lessons have been learned to avoid similar tragedies occurring in the future.

“One can only imagine how distressing it was for the family to know that Calvin had been left unsupervised and in such a confused state that he was found, close to death, in a hospital corridor. Sadly, attempts to resuscitate him failed.”

A spokesman for the RD&E said: “The trust would like to publicly express its condolences to Mr Marchant’s family for their loss. We have carried out a full internal investigation into the circumstances of Mr Marchant’s death and taken a number of actions, including strengthening our clinical handover process.

“For legal reasons, the trust is unable to make further comment at this time.”

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