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Inquest into death of 83 year old man to examine failings in post-operative care by Southampton and Bournemouth Hospitals

Venue: Winchester Coroner’s Court, although due to the building works it has been relocated to The Former Grand Jury Room, Castle Avenue, Winchester. Date: 21 September, 10 am

A two-day inquest will begin today, examining the circumstances surrounding the death of Frank Locke, an 83-year-old retired photographer and father of four from Bournemouth.

Mr Locke died on 13 January 2015 at Royal Bournemouth Hospital. The inquest will examine the treatment he received from both the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Southampton Hospital following successful heart surgery. In particular, the Coroner will look at whether the act of inserting a tube into the wrong vessel (an artery) in Mr Locke’s neck and then infusing him incorrectly into this artery, led to his stroke later the same day.

In early September 2014 Mr Locke underwent heart surgery at Southampton Hospital. The surgery was successful but Mr Locke subsequently developed abdominal pains and required bowel surgery. On 19 September, whilst recovering from the operations, Mr Locke had a new tube inserted into his neck for the administering of infusions. The procedure was carried out incorrectly and Mr Locke was wrongly infused into his artery. Later that day he had a stroke which left him with limited mobility in his left side. He was then admitted to intensive care.

In early October Mr Locke was transferred to Bournemouth Hospital. His health started to go downhill and his food intake became very limited because the stroke had affected his ability to swallow. He was fed through a tube in his nose but the feeding was erratic and at one point he went without food for almost a whole week. After delays he was finally fed through a tube in his stomach. During his stay at the hospital he developed numerous infections and on 13 January 2015, he died.

Mr Locke’s partner, Barbara Dawkins, will attend the inquest where she hopes to establish the full circumstances surrounding his death. She says: “Frank had a very positive attitude to life and fought hard to stay fit and healthy. He refused to let illness get the better of him. He had reservations about going in for heart surgery but decided to go ahead with it as he hoped it would give him a better quality of life.

“His surgery was successful and even after his subsequent stroke; I felt that he was on the road to recovery. This all changed once he was transferred to Bournemouth Hospital where I saw him deteriorate significantly. It was very distressing to see him lose weight so rapidly and become so gravely ill. I hope that the inquest will give me some answers about what happened.”

Nina Ali, medical negligence lawyer at Hodge Jones & Allen is representing Barbara Dawkins. She says: “We hope that the Coroner’s investigation will review all the events leading up to Mr Locke’s death. In particular we are hoping to establish whether there was a link between the mistake made with the insertion of the line into Mr Locke’s neck following his operation and his subsequent stroke. Ms. Dawkins is also keen for there to be further scrutiny of the care Mr Locke received following his stroke and to understand why he became so malnourished and dehydrated in the run up to his death.”

All press enquiries to:

Louise Eckersley, Black Letter Communications on 020 3567 1208 or 07766 573844, email:

Kerry Jack, Black Letter Communications on 020 3567 1208 or 07525 756 599, email:

Notes to editors:

Hodge Jones & Allen LLP was founded in 1977 in Camden and has 200 staff based in Euston NW1. The firm practices personal injury, clinical negligence, civil liberties, family law, wills and probate, housing, dispute resolution, criminal defence and serious fraud.