Husband Says ‘Lessons Must Be Learned’ From Complications After Routine Surgery
The family of a Worcestershire pensioner who died following a delay in diagnosing her septicaemia have revealed their hope that lessons will be learned after lawyers secured them a settlement following an admission that her death was avoidable.
Dorothy Moule died aged 73 in October 2014 just days after having hernia surgery at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. Her condition deteriorated rapidly following what her family was told would be a simple procedure.
A subsequent report into her death, which was undertaken by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, identified that there had been a number of failures in the care Dorothy received in the critical hours following her surgery.
Following the problems, her devastated family instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her treatment. They obtained independent evidence that if Dorothy had the appropriate investigations carried out this would have led to surgery that could have saved her life.
Now, after Irwin Mitchell secured the family an admission of liability and a settlement from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Dorothy’s loved ones have urged that no one else should face the same problems in the future.
Expert Opinion“This is a truly appalling case in which clinicians missed a number of opportunities to provide the right level of care to Dorothy.
“Dorothy attended hospital for routine surgery yet days later passed away and her family remain understandably devastated by the circumstances surrounding her death. While nothing will change what has happened, we are delighted to have helped them secure a settlement regarding these very serious failings. Lessons must be learned from this case.” Ashley Cocker - Solicitor
Dorothy, a former financial advisor was married to, Alfred, a retired horticulturist. The couple, who lived in Hartlebury, Worcestershire, had three children Simon, Nikki and Rachel, as well as nine grandchildren.
Dorothy was admitted for surgery on 10 October, 2014, and her family believed it was a straightforward procedure which would mean she would be in for just a few days.
Alfred 89, recalled: “I went in to see her the next day and she seemed very drowsy, but I assumed it was just whatever medication she was on. However, I was really concerned the day after when she was complaining of feeling sick.
“She gradually got paler and weaker - I knew something wasn’t right.”
On 13 October, Alfred arrived at hospital to be told Dorothy had a blockage and it was being investigated. In the early hours of the next day, he was called to go back in due to her condition deteriorating.
He said: “Dorothy was in such a bad way, gasping for air and confused. There was also an awful smell in her room. Eventually she was taken to intensive care and we were told she had septicaemia and needed surgery, although there was a low chance of survival.”
Dorothy suffered a cardiac arrest shortly before the surgery and just a few hours later she died.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman identified a number of failings in Dorothy’s care. These included failures to perform a CT scan of her abdomen before the end of the afternoon of 13 October, administering antibiotics by 12 October, perform an intensive care review by 13 October and perform emergency surgery by 13 October.
It advised that Dorothy should have been taken back to theatre within six hours of her deterioration and this made a significant impact on her chances of survival.
Alfred said: “It remains incredibly hard to think about the final days of Dorothy’s life, particularly when the investigations into her care found so many things went wrong.
“Dorothy was such a loving and caring person who would do anything for her family. She was taken from us far too soon and nothing will change what we have been through.
“Our family now just wants to ensure that others don’t have to suffer the pain we have and that the hospital learns from this.”