Leeds hospital failings blamed over death of student killed by punch from boxer

Jagdip Randhawa, who died following an assault in Leeds City Centre. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Jagdip Randhawa, who died following an assault in Leeds City Centre. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

A STUDENT who died after a one-punch attack by a professional boxer in Leeds may have survived had it not been for the failures of a city hospital, an inquest has concluded.

Jagdip Randhawa, 19, was on a night out with friends when he was punched by super-middleweight fighter Clifton Mitchell, hitting his head on the ground and suffering a serious brain injury.

Boxer Clifton Mithchell was jailed for seven years. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Boxer Clifton Mithchell was jailed for seven years. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Mr Randhawa, who was studying English Literature at Leeds University, died at Leeds General Infirmary five days after the attack.

Mitchell, who was 21 at the time of the attack, in the early hours of October 12, 2011, was given an extended sentence of 10 years in July 2012 after a jury convicted him of Mr Randhawa’s manslaughter.

Nearly five years after his death, an inquest jury has now agreed that he was unlawfully killed by the boxer - but concluded that he may have survived the blow had it not been for the neglect at Leeds General Infirmary.

Much of the inquest centred on what happened during the 46 minutes that Mr Randhawa spent on a faulty ventilator at the hospital.

His sister, Majinder, made an emotional appeal to the court at the beginning of the proceedings highlighting how one doctor had told Mitchell’s trial it was the “worst level of care he had seen in his 27-year career”.

She also said she wanted answers about why Mitchell was on the streets after he had breached bail on a number of occasions.

Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard a series of failures at the hospital significantly contributed to his death - including oxygen leaking for approximately 46 minutes from a faulty ventilator, starving him of oxygen.

When he arrived at the hospital in an ambulance, he was having breathing problems and staff sedated him to allow him to be hooked up to a machine that would help him to breathe.

But staff at the hospital failed to understand the results of a test on the ventilator and inappropriately responded to alarms sounding on the equipment.

Other failures included “inadequate and insufficient” monitoring of the patient, failure to correctly diagnose why his vital signs were deteriorating and failure to seek senior assistance.

At the end of the hearing assistant coroner Kevin McLoughlin told Mr Randhawa’s family: “I personally feel your hearts must have been close to breaking hearing of the events of your brother’s death.”

Mr McLoughlin said the details outlined in court must “add vicious agony” to their distress.

The jury, which reached a unanimous verdict after three days of deliberations, said two “significant facts” had caused the death of Mr Randhawa.

“Firstly, the punches to the head in Leeds city centre which subsequently caused Mr Randhawa to hit his head on the ground,” the jury said.

“Secondly, the treatment in Leeds General Infirmary which fell significantly below the standards expected and required, which exacerbated the injuries to the head.

“We believe that serious mistakes and serious errors in judgment were made by a doctor involved in treating Mr Randhawa in Leeds General Infirmary on October 12, 2011.

“Therefore, on the balance of probability we are satisfied that but for the neglect identified Mr Randhawa would have survived or would not have died when he did.”

The jury concluded that these failing by the hospital were not “gross” and this did not amount to unlawful killing in this respect.

After the hearing, Mr Randhawa’s family issued a statement through the human rights organisation, Liberty.

It said: “The last five years have been agony as the various institutions involved have tried to shut us out and we had to fight just to know what happened to him.

“Jagdip was punched by Clifton Ty Mitchell, a professional boxer, in 2011. He was already on bail for a violent offence.

“The jury have found that Derbyshire Police missed opportunities to arrest Mr Mitchell, despite numerous breaches of his bail.

“As a family, we will always be haunted by not knowing what might have happened if Mr Mitchell had been arrested as he should have been.”

Dr Yvette Oade, chief medical officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, apologised to Mr Randhawa’s family and said the hospital had “learned important lessons” from his death and implemented changes.

She added: “These improvements were recognised in court by the coroner and he was assured that we have taken all the necessary steps to minimise the risk of mistakes like this happening again.”