A hospital trust’s failure to implement basic handover procedures and maintain essential record-keeping led to the tragic death of a vulnerable diabetic patient.
Stafford Crown Court has heard how staff at Stafford Hospital did not follow, or sometimes even look at, medical notes belonging to Gillian Astbury.
The 66-year-old was a Type 1 diabetes sufferer who needed insulin, regular blood tests and a special diet.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found mistakes were made at up to eight shift changes and as many as 11 drugs rounds in the care of Ms Astbury. The failure to administer insulin was the direct cause of her death.
A hospital has a duty of care to look after patients. When it fails in this duty of care, however, a claim for medical negligence can be made.
Spouses or legal partners, children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents are the individuals that typically qualify as dependants in tragic death by medical negligence claims.
If you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself in this situation, your first port of call should be Accident Advice Helpline. It will tell you what type of claim you can make, who to claim against and how likely it is that a claim will be successful.
‘Entirely preventable death’
Peter Galsworthy, HSE Head of Operations in the West Midlands, said the death of Ms Astbury was entirely preventable.
He pointed to serious safety management flaws. These included the failure to ensure that employees consistently followed principles of good communication and record keeping.
A system for communicating patient needs at staff handovers was found to be inconsistent and sometimes non-existent, while record-keeping and monitoring of patient care plans were also far below acceptable standards.
Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £27,049 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.
Source: The Guardian
Date Published: May 2, 2014
Author: David Brown