Inquest Hears Mother-Of-Five Had Died In Hospital After Oxygen Cylinder Ran Out Of Oxygen

Medical Negligence Experts Secure Settlement For Heartbroken Family


The heartbroken family of a woman who was found unresponsive in a Wolverhampton Hospital after the oxygen cylinder which she was reliant upon was found to have run out of oxygen during the night and medical staff failed to notice have instructed lawyers to investigate her care.

Hilda Seagrave, from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, was admitted to New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton on 25th June 2011 after a fall at her home; she was badly injured and couldn’t feel her legs and was rushed to the A&E department for urgent medical attention.

The mother-of-five had been diagnosed with a clotting disorder affecting her lungs in May 2011 at New Cross Hospital and advised that she would require a constant oxygen supply to treat the condition. When she arrived at the hospital in June 2011, she was given an oxygen cylinder, rather than being connected to a piped oxygen supply.  She sadly died the next morning from a cardiorespiratory arrest. 

The family were later told she had suffered a spinal injury and that her oxygen cylinder had run out overnight.

An inquest into Hilda’s death concluded today (11th March) at Smethwick Council House, the Black Country Coroner HM Coroner Siddique recorded a narrative verdict contributed by neglect.

The Coroner commented: “Mrs Seagrave was admitted to New Cross Hospital on 25 June 2011 after suffering a serious fall at home. She was diagnosed with Central-cord syndrome and prior to admission to hospital was on oxygen therapy. On the balance of probability the oxygen cylinder had become depleted around 6am on 26th June 2011 and there were failures in monitoring the oxygen levels. The lack of oxygen was a causative factor which resulted in cardio respiratory arrest due to the development of hypoxia through lack of oxygen. There were inadequate systems in place to monitor and escalate the findings of deterioration in the patient with central-cord syndrome at the time. Collectively taken together as a whole these failures were contributed to by neglect.”

Hilda’s family instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care and treatment by staff at New Cross Hospital which is run by the Royal Wolverhampton Hospital NHS Trust and now the law firm has secured the family an undisclosed settlement from the Trust despite no formal admission of liability.

Expert medical evidence commissioned by Irwin Mitchell into the 74-year-old’s care found that:
• Staff failed to arrange and undertake respiratory review on 25 June 2011;
• Failed to admit Hilda to the High Dependency Unit;
• Failure, after admission to the ward, to connect Hilda to and ensure a continuous supply of oxygen;
• Failure to comply with the Code of Professional Conduct NMC 2008, by failing to undertake full observations on an hourly basis as a minimum, including constant oxygen saturation monitoring;
• Failure to recognise that oxygen saturations on 26 June 2011 showed signs of hypoxia (condition in which the body shows signs of oxygen deprivation) and respiratory failure.

Speaking after the inquest, Sue Seagrave, Hilda’s daughter, 46, said: “The loss of our mother has been devastating for our family – we have been left utterly distressed, by losing her so suddenly because of the appalling care she received from staff at the hospital.

“We trusted that staff caring for her whilst she was in hospital would give her the very best quality of care available and to discover after she had passed away that her oxygen supply had run out during the night and not replaced is simply unacceptable.

“We are disappointed that the Trust has not accepted responsibility formally for what happened to our mother – I hope that after what happened to my mother, all staff at the hospital receive all the training they need to ensure that these mistakes can never happen again.”

If have lost a loved one to fatal medical negligence, we may be able to help you claim compensation. See our Medical Negligence Guide for more information.