Family of banker to receive £2.1M payout over death at private hospital

The family of a banker who died following a blunder at a private hospital are set to receive a £2.1 million damages payout.

Robert Entenman suffered “devastating” brain damage and died in May 2015 while recovering from surgery at London Bridge Hospital after his breathing tube became blocked when a vital piece of equipment was turned off.

After a coroner at an inquest in 2016 ruled that the circumstances which led to the 57-year-old’s death amounted to neglect, his widow Athina Kyriakidou sued HCA International Ltd, which runs the hospital.

HCA admitted liability in November last year and agreed a financial settlement in September, which was approved on Monday at the High Court in London.

At a brief hearing, Mr Justice Martin Spencer said he would have liked to have met Mr Entenman, who was originally from America and worked for UniCredit Bank in London.

He told the court: “No judge reading these papers could fail to be moved by what appears in relation to Mr Entenman.

“Perhaps the greatest compliment I can give him, having read all that I have about him, is that he is a man I would very much like to have met.

“He sounds as if he was a wholly admirable man, a renaissance man, who had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the world and everything about it, who was dedicated to his job but, more than anything, dedicated to his family.

“He was a devoted father to his two children, and clearly his death has been devastating for them, as well as of course for Mrs Kyriakidou and his extended family.”

Mr Justice Spencer said Mr Entenman’s tragic death happened after he went into the hospital for what should have been a “relatively straightforward” heart operation to replace a valve.

After the procedure turned out to be more complicated than expected, Mr Entenman had to undergo open heart surgery and needed a tube to maintain his airway during his recovery.

One week after the operation, a nurse switched off a humidifier in his room “for reasons which are not clear but which formed a tragic error”, the judge said.

Mr Justice Spencer added: “The consequences were that secretions built up which eventually blocked his airway, leading to respiratory and cardiac arrest on May 23, and it was not possible to prevent devastating brain damage.

“Eventually Mr Entenman’s life support was turned off and he died on May 28.”

The judge said he hoped the settlement will enable the family to move on, as far as they can, and wished them the best for the future.

Henry Witcomb QC, representing the family, told the court the total settlement figure agreed was £2.1 million.

In a statement issued by her lawyers after the hearing, Mrs Kyriakidou said the only possible positive impact of the tragedy would be if the hospital actually learnt from their mistakes and ensured nothing similar ever happened again.

Paul McNeil, from Fieldfisher, who represented the family, said: “Robert Entenman’s wife and two children have had to pick up the pieces following his death as best they can.

“This is not something a family should have to do when someone goes into hospital for relatively straightforward surgery.”

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