Father of four from Halifax dies after doctors failed to treat stomach infection

Alan Mountain with wife Isobel, left, and daughter Rachel, right
Alan Mountain with wife Isobel, left, and daughter Rachel, right

A father of four from Halifax has died after medical staff failed to treat a stomach infection known as Helicobacter Pylori for nine months.

Alan Mountain, who was 71 at the time of his death, began vomiting blood due to a duodenal ulcer caused by the Helicobacter Pylori – a bacterial infection that damages the stomach lining and causes ulcers to form.

He collapsed and suffered a fatal cardiac arrest after doctors continually failed to treat the Helicobacter Pylori, despite receiving positive microbiology test results in December 2012.

In April 2012, Mr Mountain, visited his GP complaining of pain in his stomach.

Despite initial treatment for a suspected urinary tract infection, Mr Mountain's pain did not subside and he was admitted to Calderdale and Huddersfield Accident and Emergency several days later.

After suffering continual pain, along with considerable weight loss, he visited his GP again a few days later.

He was examined and advised that he was suffering with haemorrhoids. He was also told that in-depth scans would be needed to establish what was wrong with him.

He continued to be monitored and in December 2012, he underwent a gastroscopy procedure, where it was finally reported that he had the duodenal ulcer.

The microbiology results tested positive for Helicobacter Pylori, but the hospital failed to diagnose Mr Mountain. His ulcer was treated and eventually in February 2013, it was confirmed the ulcer had healed completely.

Despite the positive test result of Helicobacter Pylori, the hospital still failed to treat this by eradication therapy, which is against the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guidelines.

After taking the Clopidogrel, Mr Mountain suffered from an allergic reaction and his GP changed his medication back to Aspirin. Unfortunately, this led to him developing another duodenal ulcer.

On September 5, 2013, he began vomiting blood whilst and was rushed to A&E. However, shortly after arriving, he suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away that same evening.

Isobel Mountain, Alan’s wife, said: “You could see Alan getting worse and worse as time went on.

"The doctors ignored the positive test results for the infection when they should have treated him, but alongside this, his GP restarted his Aspirin medication, which made him develop another ulcer.

“Alan came out of the hospital after a scan and complained that he felt much worse than usual.

"That evening he started to feel sick, and then before I knew what was happening he was vomiting blood everywhere and then collapsed onto the floor.

"I called the ambulance straight away and the paramedics were brilliant – they were here within minutes and rushed Alan to the hospital.

"Sadly, they could never have been quick enough – Alan just kept getting worse and went into cardiac arrest at the hospital. They couldn’t bring him round and he died there and then.”

After realising that errors had been made with Mr Mountain's care, his family contacted medical negligence experts Fletchers Solicitors to bring a claim against Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.

The Letter of Response from the Trust admitted five allegations of breach of duty care.

The Trust further admitted that but for their negligence, the Helicobacter Pylori would have been eradicated and Alan would not have had a further ulceration leading to a bleed and ultimately his death. The Trust apologised to Isobel for their failings and agreed a settlement out of Court.

Isobel said: “This whole ordeal has been absolutely dreadful. I’m still in shock some days – It was just all so sudden.

"I’ve really struggled since Alan has been gone. I can’t work any more after I fell and injured myself, so I can barely even support myself now.

"My children and family have been amazing, but the fact that I’ve lost my best friend and husband of 37 years because of the hospital’s negligence is just absolutely appalling.

“I have to say that Fletchers Solicitors has been fantastic throughout our case. The team were careful to explain everything thoroughly, and were by my side every step of the way.”