A&E patient claims he ‘nearly died’

Steven Tiffen in his bed at Watford General Hospital, June 2015
Steven Tiffen in his bed at Watford General Hospital, June 2015

Hospital bosses are investigating after a dad-of-one claimed he was given an overdose of medication, suffered a cardiac arrest and nearly died.

Steven Tiffen, 34, of Adeyfield, Hemel Hempstead, was admitted to Watford General Hospital’s Cassio ward on June 20 with suspected kidney stones and an infection.

Steven Tiffen in his bed at Watford General Hospital, June 2015

Steven Tiffen in his bed at Watford General Hospital, June 2015

During his three-day stay, the dad-of-one claims he was given another patient’s medication and was also administered an overdose of morphine before being found 
unconscious and not breathing by his mother and partner during visiting hours.

Part of Mr Tiffen’s complaint to the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs the hospital – says he believes the doctor on duty at the time wanted to declare him ‘clinically dead’ after five minutes of CPR.

His partner – who is a doctor in another hospital and did not want to be named – managed to bring Mr Tiffen around but she claims she is ‘shocked’ by his treatment.

Mr Tiffen, who was discharged the day after the ordeal, said: “I can’t sleep at night because I just keep thinking about what happened and how lucky I am.

“I could have left my six-year-old son Daniel without a dad.

“I’m so disgusted with that hospital and this has left me scared to go there again.

“You’re supposed to be in the best place when you’re in hospital.

“I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

In a letter sent to Mr Tiffen’s home on August 19, complaints manager Maureen Walton said: “The details of your complaint will now be passed to the Division of Medicine for investigation by a senior manager under the remit of the Trust’s complaints policy.

“Once the investigation is complete, we will write to you again.

“In line with our policy, the investigation may take 20 to 25 working days, but we of course shall keep you informed if we envisage any delay.”

Professor Tracey Carter, Chief Nurse, said this week: “We have investigated the 
allegations that Mr Tiffen has made, and had discussions with him and his family.

“There is no evidence that he was given an overdose or that there was any mix-up with another patient’s notes, and our records indicate that his medication regime was strictly followed.

“Furthermore, he did not suffer a cardiac arrest.

“In order to provide further reassurance to Mr Tiffen and his family, we have offered to investigate any outstanding issues through our formal complaints procedure and in a telephone conversation he has indicated that he would now like to take up this offer.”