Widow and children of a banker who died in private hospital error win £2.1m payout

The widow and children of a top banker who needlessly died following a nurse’s ‘tragic error’ at a private hospital have won a £2.1 million compensation pay out.

Adored by his family and City colleagues, Robert Entenman, was the Uni-Credit Bank’s global head of e-Commerce when he died aged just 57.

The High Court heard how he went into the London Bridge Hospital in May 2015 for what should have been a fairly straightforward heart operation.

Mr Entenman, who lived in Chislehurst, had suffered from mitral valve disease, type 2 diabetes and arthritis in the hip and back. 

However, it turned out more complex than expected and, after open heart surgery, he was put on a ventilator in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Robert Entenman, 57, from Chislehurst, South East London, with wife Athina and Alexander, left, born 2006 and Chloe, 2008. Mr Entenman died after heart operation went wrong at the private London Bridge hospital in May 2015

About a week after the operation, a nurse made a ‘tragic error’ that was to cost the much-loved financier his life, said Mr Justice Martin Spencer.

After she turned off a humidifier in the ventilation equipment, secretions built up in his airways leading to respiratory and cardiac arrest, the judge added.

He could not be saved from devastating brain damage and his life support machine was switched off on May 28 2015.

‘He was an exceptionally well loved man who had time for everyone, particularly his children,’ said the family’s barrister, Henry Witcomb QC.

The judge said an inquest into his death later identified ‘serious deficiencies’ in his post-operative care at the hospital. 

London Bridge Hospital building in London, United Kingdom on 11 December, 2019

London Bridge Hospital building in London, United Kingdom on 11 December, 2019

Left to grieve were his widow, Athina Kyriakidou, who was his wife of 10 years and his two children, Alexander and Chloe, now aged 13 and 11, the court heard. 

The family’s lawyers sued the hospital’s operator, HCA International Limited, for clinical negligence and the judge said it was to the company’s credit that it admitted liability at an early stage.

Mr Witcomb told the court that, following negotiations, HCA had agreed to settle the family’s claim for £2,100,000.

Mrs Kyriakidou wept as Mr Justice Spencer paid tribute to her husband and approved the settlement.

The judge said: ‘Perhaps the greatest compliment that I can pay Mr Entenman is that he was a man I would very much like to have met.

‘He sounds a really admirable renaissance man who had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the world around him.

‘He was dedicated to his job and, in particular, to his family.’

American-born Mr Entenman, who’d lived in the UK for more than 30 years, died when his ‘wonderful’ children were very young and ‘particularly vulnerable to the effects of losing their father,’ he added.

‘They have managed to cope in their own ways and I sincerely hope that this settlement will help the family to, so far as it is ever possible, put this matter behind them.’  

Following the ruling, Mr Entenman’s wife Athina said that 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. She said she was not convinced that had happened, however.

Paul McNeil from Fieldfisher, who represented the Entenman family, said the circumstances that resulted in Mr Entenman’s death were a disgrace.

‘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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