Woman dies after doctors 'delayed' treating sepsis for 12 hours while they argued over wards
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
A woman who died from sepsis experienced 'delayed' treatment after doctors debated which ward to treat her on, a report has found.
Tina Hughes, 59, was rushed to A&E on 8 September last year, after she presented with signs of sepsis. Despite this being flagged by paramedics on her arrival at Sandwell General Hospital, in West Bromwich, Tina was not transferred to the acute medical unit until 3:00am the next morning where sepsis was diagnosed.
In the meantime, it's reported that medics had debated whether to treat her on a surgical, or high dependency ward.
Sadly, Tina continued to deteriorate and was admitted to intensive care four hours later where she was put on a ventilator. She died the following morning.
A serious incident investigation report by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has since found there was 'a delay in explicit recognition of sepsis'.
Tina's family has now asked lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether the trust could have done more to diagnose and treat her sepsis – which sees the body attack itself in response to an infection.
“Mum was an absolutely fantastic mum and grandma," says Tina's daughter, Yvette Whitehouse.
"Her life revolved around her family. She was the heartbeat of our family and would do anything for us.
“She always saw the best in people and helped others less fortunate than herself."
Yvette continued: “I don’t think I’ll ever get over what happened and life without my mum will never be the same again for all of us.
“While the last year and trying to come to terms with what happened has taken its toll on us all it also feels like the anniversary of mum’s death is a time to share her story to help others.
“Before mum’s death we hadn’t heard too much about sepsis. However, we now know how dangerous it can be.
"We hope that by speaking out we can help make others aware of the symptoms of sepsis and how important early detection and treatment is.”
Tina had been feeling unwell in August and was rushed to hospital after days of vomiting, confusion, and she had stopped passing urine.
An investigation found a delay in treating Tina’s sepsis as well as a disagreement as to the level of care Tina needed and where she should be transferred to from A&E.
The NHS report also made a number of recommendations including training for junior doctors around sepsis.
Jade Elliott-Archer, the specialist medical negligence lawyer representing Yvette, says: “Tina was a much-loved partner, mum and grandmother who was adored by her family.
"The last year and coming to terms with her death have been incredibly difficult for the whole family.
“Understandably they have a number of concerns about the events that unfolded in the lead up to Tina’s death.
"The Trust’s own investigation report has identified concerning areas in the care Tina received.
"We’re now investigating these further to provide the family with all of the answers they deserve."
An inquest which will examine more circumstances around Tina’s death is due to take at a later date.
A spokesperson for Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Our deepest sympathies go out to Tina’s family and friends and we are working with the coroner to provide all information needed to conduct the inquest and will wait for the coroner’s finding in due course.”