Our client was 75 when she was admitted to a Sheffield hospital with a probable urinary tract infection. Before this, she was able to live alone in her own home, although had received some respite care in a care home.
The hospital failed to adequately monitor and treat the infection and she died 18 days later. The post mortem report showed that our client died of sepsis, caused by the infection.
Our client experienced poor hospital care and medical management. The hospital trust carried out an investigation into the care given to her, which found serious shortcomings in her treatment. In particular, the standard investigations that should have been carried out in a patient with an infection (e.g. blood tests, urine tests) were often ignored. The hospital investigation has shown, for example, that the results of our client’s blood tests were abnormal and so she should have had daily blood tests to monitor this. In fact, there was a gap of 9 days when no tests were taken. There was also poor hospital care with monitoring of fluid balance levels.
The investigation found that all patients should have a thorough assessment of their care needs carried out within 48 hours of admission. No such assessment was ever carried out of our client.
Our client became so ill that she was unable to hold a cup and could not feed herself. Nevertheless, her tray of food was simply left at the end of her bed. She therefore often ate nothing and became gradually weaker. The hospital have said that if our client had received optimum medical and nursing care, her body would have been better prepared to resist the infection.
It was only on the day before she died that our client was given intravenous fluids. She was never given antibiotics, and the hospital has accepted that this was an error.
It is clear that the hospital staff were too quick to put our client’s deterioration and her inability to eat and drink down to dementia, without excluding other possible causes such as infection. The hospital investigation concluded that staff needed to be educated about dealing with patients with dementia.
Our specialist Elderly Abuse team acted in a claim against the hospital which focused on the poor care and standard of treatment given to our client. The hospital admitted all the allegations of negligence that we put forward and we were able to negotiate a successful settlement of the claim without needing to start Court proceedings.
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