Hospital Trust Admits Two Hour Delay In Administering Of Antibiotics
A widower is campaigning to raise awareness of the signs of sepsis following his wife’s death from the condition.
Deirdre Wagstaff, from St Ives, Cornwall, died in Treliske Hospital on 17 December, 2015, the day after she was diagnosed with the condition. It’s believed her sepsis was caused by a reaction to chemotherapy treatment she was undergoing for cancer. Deirdre had been admitted on 14 December.
Following her death aged 64, Deirdre’s husband, Christopher, instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether more could have been done to treat her sepsis.
Cornwall Hospital Trust Admits Sepsis Failures
Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Treliske Hospital, admitted a breach of duty in that there was a two hour delay in administering antibiotics to treat the mum-of-three and grandmother-of-six’s sepsis.
The Trust also admitted a failure to ensure Deirdre, who also had a great-grandson, was given enough fluids to help her organs function and help fight her sepsis.
The Trust has apologised to Deirdre’s family for the failings in care and her death. It’s agreed an undisclosed settlement with the family.
Christopher is now using the fifth anniversary of his wife’s death, on 17 December, to speak of the importance of early detection and treatment of sepsis.
Expert Opinion“Five years on Christopher and the rest of Deirdre’s family understandably remain upset at the circumstances surrounding her death.
“While Deirdre had been diagnosed with cancer and was poorly, the Trust has admitted to worrying failings in the care she received for sepsis.
“The family believe that because of this they didn’t get to spend more quality time with Deirdre before she died.
“Early detection and treatment is key to beating sepsis. We hope that lessons are now learned to improve care for patients in the future.” James Pink - Solicitor
Deirdre, a shop assistant, began to suffer muscle pain in her left shoulder and bottom left rib in May 2015. Following a series of medical appointments she was diagnosed with cancer that summer and started fortnightly chemotherapy that December.
Sepsis Treatment Delay Before Deirdre's Death
Deirdre’s condition deteriorated after she started her second course of treatment. She was admitted to Treliske Hospital 14 December, 2015. She was diagnosed as having sepsis on 16 December.
Deirdre was prescribed intravenous antibiotics at around 10.30pm on 16 December but the full course of treatment wasn’t completed until around 2.30am on 17 December.
The Trust accepted that Deirdre should have received the full course of intravenous antibiotics within two hours - which would have been by 12.30am at the latest. She died later that day.
Deirdre Wagstaff's Family In Sepsis Warning
Christopher, a retired council employee, aged 70, said: “Deirdre was such a loving wife, mum and grandmother. Nothing was ever too much bother for her and she would do anything for her family.
“Her death was devastating but it particularly affected the grandchildren given how young they were.
“Deirdre was bravely fighting the cancer but we feel what happened to her and the sepsis deprived us of the chance to create more family memories and say goodbye to her properly.
“We continue to miss Deirdre every day but we’re pleased to finally have answers to the many concerns we had about what happened to her.
“Our family just hopes that by speaking out people are aware of how dangerous sepsis is and how important it is to receive medical treatment as soon as possible.”
Spotting The Signs Of Sepsis
Signs of sepsis include slurred speech, confusion, extreme shivering and muscle pain, passing no urine in a day, severe breathlessness and mottled or discoloured skin.
For more on our expertise in supporting families affected by sepsis visit our medical negligence section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.
More information about the signs and symptoms of sepsis can be found at www.sepsistrust.org