An “amazing husband and devoted family man” died after a Norfolk hospital “failed” its duty of care, his wife has said. 

It comes following the death of 65-year-old Shaun Mileham, of Upton, near Acle, who died at the James Paget Hospital last year. 

An inquest into his death, the court heard how the retired engineer had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

On December 31, 2022, he was admitted to the hospital in Gorleston with shortness of breath and was seen in the emergency department. 

Almost 23 hours later, he was eventually moved to a surgical ward due to lack of bed on the respiratory ward. 

On January 1, at around 9.50am, he became unconscious and despite treatment he died the following day. 

Eastern Daily Press: James Paget Hospital James Paget Hospital (Image: Newsquest)

Evidence read out at Norfolk Coroner’s Court also revealed that his condition was not escalated correctly either. 

Summing up after hearing evidence from Dr Alistair Green, a consultant physician at the hospital, area coroner Samantha Goward said: “The Trust’s root cause analysis report said that the delay in commencing the non-invasive ventilation had an adverse effect on Shaun's outcome. 

“Dr Green advised he was unable to say for certain whether Shaun would have survived this admission ... However, he stated that he felt it was likely that he would have done better and was more likely to have tolerated the mask if treatment had commenced before he began to suffer from confusion. 

“Dr Green stated there were ‘significant delays’ in getting the right treatment and that the delay in the getting the right treatment did affect the outcome. 

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk Coroner's CourtNorfolk Coroner's Court (Image: Newsquest)

“His NEWS2 score – a score used to help nursing staff identify patients who are in need of more frequent observations and senior input – increased to a level where he should have been escalated for medical review and hourly observations. 

“Had Shaun’s NEWS score been correctly calculated and documented then there would have been earlier detection of his deterioration. 

“While it is not possible to know the outcome, the delay in commencing the correct treatment more than minimally contributed to Shaun's outcome.” 

Mr Mileham’s medical cause of death was given as exacerbation of chronic COPD. 

Ms Goward gave a narrative conclusion and recorded: “Mr Mileham died after being admitted to hospital for treatment for non-infected exacerbation of COPD which deteriorated further after admission.” 

A lovely tribute to an ‘amazing husband and devoted family man’ 

Eastern Daily Press: Shaun Mileham

Shaun Mileham’s wife, Rosemary, an administration assistant, paid a heartfelt tribute to her husband. 

She said: “Shan was an amazing husband and partner of 32 years, a devoted dad and grandad, and his family meant everything to him. 

“He was never happier than when he was surrounded by family and friends. 

“A talented engineer with a quick wit and a ready smile, he had many friends, and his knowledge and expertise were regularly sought even after he had stopped working. 

“The shed door was always open for a loan with a spanner or screwdriver or just to mardle with the neighbours and friends. 

“There was a tool available for every job and 'if Shaun couldn't fix it no one could' was the frequent phrase used. 

“When Shaun was diagnosed with COPD, he never let this define him. 

“He would rethink how to tackle a problem if the limitations of this illness prevented him from doing it in the conventional way. 

“He kept himself as active as he could both mentally and physically enjoying frequent holidays to Italy, tinkering in his shed, building model boats and gardening to name a few. 

“The door was always open, the kettle on, the biscuit tin open, often texting friends and neighbours to say the cafe was open, come on over. 

“Shaun's death has devastated our family. 

“We miss the warmth of his love, his humour, and if you asked anyone who knew him what they missed the most about Shaun, it would be his smile.” 

Speaking after the inquest, she added: “I do feel that the hospital did not provide him with a duty of care. They failed him.”