Last year a 17 year old patient bled to death after having her appendix removed. Now the hospital is refusing to publish the findings of an inquiry as it may “endanger the mental health” of its staff.

In August 2012, Victoria Harrison was rushed to Kettering Hospital with suspected appendicitis. The teenager underwent emergency surgery, during which the surgeon damaged an artery. It was repaired there and then, but she continued to bleed after the operation.

Tragically, the handover between theatre staff, the recovery nurse and ward staff was poor. Consequently not all of the nurses were aware of the bleed, while some either did not read the medical notes or could not decipher the surgeon’s handwriting.

The level of post-operative observation was also substandard, with her last written observations at 8.15pm. She was found unresponsive nine hours later, having bled to death at some point during the night.

During an inquest, Coroner Ann Pember criticised the care provided by Kettering Hospital. “Windows of opportunity to treat Victoria were lost – had these been acted upon the outcome may have been different”, she said. “I believe her chances of survival would have significantly increased.”

The hospital carried out a serious incident investigation, reporting it has “strengthened guidance for hospital staff around post-operative care and observation/pain assessment.”

However, Kettering Hospital has refused to publish the findings, despite a Freedom of Information request being lodged. It said making the findings public would put staff under “additional stress and pressure in addition to that already experienced during the investigation and inquest.”

Andy Sawford, the Labour MP for Corby, said: “I’m concerned that information about what went wrong hasn’t been made available to the public. It is important to be transparent when things go wrong, and I will be raising my concerns with the hospital.”

Substandard nursing care

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