Indian News

Hospital apologises over failings and delay before woman died of sepsis

Source: , Posted On:   11 December 2020

Hospital apology to family over failings before gran died

The widower of a woman who died from sepsis after a two-hour delay in hospital says his family "continues to miss her every day".

Deirdre Wagstaff, from St Ives, died in Royal Cornwall Hospital (RCH) the day after she was diagnosed with the condition five years ago.

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT), which runs Treliske hospital, admitted a breach of duty in that there was a two-hour delay in administering antibiotics to treat the mum-of-three and grandmother-of-six’s sepsis. The Trust also admitted a failure to ensure Deirdre, who also had a great-grandson, was given enough fluids to help her organs function and help fight her sepsis.

Deirdre was prescribed intravenous antibiotics at around 10.30pm on December 16, 2015, but the full course of treatment wasn’t completed until around 2.30am on December 17. She died later that day.

The Trust accepted that Deirdre should have received the full course of intravenous antibiotics within two hours - which would have been by 12.30am at the latest.

Deirdre, a shop assistant, began to suffer muscle pain in her left shoulder and bottom left rib in May 2015 and following a series of medical appointments she was diagnosed with cancer that summer and started fortnightly chemotherapy that December.

Deirdre’s condition deteriorated after she started her second course of treatment and she was then admitted to Treliske Hospital on December 14, 2015, where was was diagnosed as having sepsis two days later.

It’s believed her sepsis was caused by a reaction to chemotherapy treatment she was undergoing for her cancer.

Following her death, aged 64, Deirdre’s husband Christopher instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether more could have been done to treat her sepsis.

Treliske Hospital (Image: James Ram)

Christopher, a retired council employee, aged 70, said: “Deirdre was such a loving wife, mum and grandmother. Nothing was ever too much bother for her and she would do anything for her family. Her death was devastating but it particularly affected the grandchildren given how young they were.

“Deirdre was bravely fighting the cancer but we feel what happened to her and the sepsis deprived us of the chance to create more family memories and say goodbye to her properly.

“We continue to miss Deirdre every day but we’re pleased to finally have answers to the many concerns we had about what happened to her.

You can stay up to date on the top news and events near you with CornwallLive’s FREE newsletters – enter your email address at the top of the page.

“Our family just hopes that by speaking out people are aware of how dangerous sepsis is and how important it is to receive medical treatment as soon as possible.”

Christopher is now using the fifth anniversary of his wife’s death to speak of the importance of early detection and treatment of sepsis of which signs include slurred speech, confusion, extreme shivering and muscle pain, passing no urine in a day, severe breathlessness and mottled or discoloured skin.

James Pink, the expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Christopher, said: “Five years on Christopher and the rest of Deirdre’s family understandably remain upset at the circumstances surrounding her death.

“While Deirdre had been diagnosed with cancer and was poorly, the Trust has admitted to worrying failings in the care she received for sepsis. The family believe that because of this they didn’t get to spend more quality time with Deirdre before she died.

“Early detection and treatment is key to beating sepsis. We hope that lessons are now learned to improve care for patients in the future.”