Page last updated at 14:12 GMT, Monday, 15 February 2010

Widow wins damages from negligent Essex hospital

The widow of a solicitor who died while being treated for respiratory failure in hospital has been awarded an undisclosed six-figure sum in damages.

Crystal Wells, 47, claimed the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow was negligent over the death of her husband Peter in December 2005.

A London High Court judge heard Mr Wells, 59, of Epping, Essex, died from a "reversible and treatable condition".

The hospital admitted negligence over his death and apologised to the family.

Mr Wells had gone to the hospital with respiratory failure after suffering from a persistent cough.

'Profound regret'

Lawyers said he could have survived and made a full recovery if a tube had been inserted to help his breathing.

The Princess Alexandra NHS Trust admitted liability and Neil Sheldon, representing it, offered its sincere apologies to his family.

The barrister representing Mrs Wells said: "Mr Wells did not get the treatment he was entitled to expect. It is a matter or profound regret."

Mr Wells, who used a wheelchair, suffered from an inherited disorder which resulted in his bones being brittle and subject to recurrent fractures.

Despite this condition he was described as being in good health prior to November 2005, when he went to his doctor because of a persistent dry cough.

The damages figure was not disclosed in court.

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