Family Join Medical Negligence Lawyers In Calling For Lessons To Be Learned
A widow whose husband died from sepsis after paramedics failed to take him to hospital is warning of the dangers of the life-threatening condition.
Niptoon Tavakoli made three 999 calls in around 85 minutes complaining of sickness and diarrhoea. During two of the calls he told call handlers “I need help very quick” and “I’m in trouble,” an ambulance service investigation said.
When an ambulance crew arrived at his house in Lindholme, Doncaster, a paramedic believed he had gastroenteritis and so didn’t take him to hospital to prevent a sickness outbreak, the report found.
Man contracted salmonella after eating duck eggs
Niptoon had fallen ill after eating duck eggs he bought at a village show days earlier. He was displaying ‘amber’ signs of sepsis which sees the body attack itself in response to an infection.
Three days later his wife Cheryl dialled 999. Niptoon was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with salmonella. However, his condition continued to deteriorate. He died in hospital two months later, aged 65, from multiple organ failure.
Niptoon's family ask lawyers for help after sepsis death
Following Niptoon’s death Cheryl, 63, instructed specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her husband’s illness and the care he received from Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS).
YAS admitted liability for Niptoon’s death. A serious incident report by the Trust found “it would have been appropriate” to take Niptoon to hospital when the crew first visited him at home.
An inquest jury concluded Niptoon died of natural causes.
Call for ambulance service to learn lessons
Cheryl has now joined her legal team in calling for lessons to be learned following the death of Niptoon, who was also a stepfather to Andrew and Paul.
Expert Opinion“Cheryl and the rest of the family continue to be greatly affected by Niptoon’s death, especially the circumstances surrounding it.
“For several years they’ve had a number of concerns about the events that unfolded. Sadly the inquest and the Ambulance Service’s report have validated those concerns.
“The effects of gastric illnesses such as salmonella should never be downplayed. In Niptoon’s case it led to him developing sepsis which is an incredibly dangerous illness; however, the condition can be beaten if diagnosed and treated quickly.
“While it’s too late for Niptoon and his family, we welcome that the Ambulance Service has taken measures to improve sepsis awareness among its staff. However, it’s vital that lessons continue to be learned to improve patient safety for others.” Catherine Slattery - Associate Solicitor
Medical negligence: Niptoon Tavakoli's story
Niptoon worked in the catering industry and retail management for many years. He bought six ducks eggs at Messingham Show in Lincolnshire on 2 June, 2019. He later cooked and ate four of them.
Five days later he complained of sickness and diarrhoea. The Ambulance Service report said that Niptoon initially dialled the NHS 111 helpline at around 12.25pm and a call handler recommended he phoned his GP surgery.
Niptoon made three 999 calls between 1.50pm and 3.15pm complaining of sickness and diarrhoea.
During the second he had a “massive headache” and told the call handler “I need help very quick,” the report said. During the third call he reported he had food poisoning, a high temperature, and chest pains adding “I’m in trouble,” the Ambulance Service report added.
Niptoon’s case was upgraded to a category two call meaning paramedics should arrive within 40 minutes. A note advising it was a possible sepsis incident was added for the ambulance crew to review.
Ambulance crew didn't take Niptoon to hospital
A crew arrived just after 4pm and found Niptoon in bed. He told them “that he felt his organs were shutting down”, the report said.
Following tests, the crew left around 30 minutes later.
Cheryl called 999 on 10 June, 2019, after her husband complained he was aching and had no strength. He also had a mottled rash on his legs and arms.
The same crew who visited Niptoon three days earlier arrived and took him to hospital.
Niptoon was admitted to critical care but died on 12 August.
Ambulance service report finds issues in Doncaster man's care
The Ambulance Service report also found that Niptoon was taken to hospital by ambulance on 10 June under normal road conditions. However, given his condition and how he was by then showing red flag symptoms of sepsis, it would have been appropriate to have blue lighted him as an emergency, while pre-alerting the hospital.
An investigation by Public Health England found the source of Niptoon’s salmonella was from the duck eggs he bought. It found another person in the West Midlands had also fallen ill with the same strain of salmonella but had recovered.
Following the incident Yorkshire Ambulance Service said it had arranged training for staff and had updated its policies and sepsis screening tools based on National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and UK Sepsis Trust advice.
Doncaster Coroner’s Court was told Niptoon arrived at hospital at 10pm but did not receive antibiotics until 11.30am the following day. Sepsis guidelines stated he should have commenced antibiotics within an hour of arrival. However, the court heard the delay would not have made a difference to the outcome.
Family's tribute to husband who died after contracting salmonella
Cheryl said: “It’s almost impossible to find the words to describe the impact Niptoon’s death has had on our family. He was such a caring and fun person who loved spending time with his family and friends but also antique hunting and collecting coins.
“The last three years and trying to come to terms with what happened has taken a toll on all of us. Trying to grieve has been made all the harder because of having so many unanswered concerns.
“While nothing can bring him back we take some small comfort from at least being able to honour his memory by now establishing the answers Niptoon deserved. However, we feel we need to speak out to raise awareness of the dangers of not only salmonella but sepsis. People have probably heard of sepsis but I’m not sure everyone is fully aware of how dangerous it is.
“Niptoon had worked in the catering business for years so knew the importance of good hygiene, safety standards and knew how to cook duck eggs.
“That he contracted salmonella even with his knowledge shows that other could fall ill after eating them. We just want to try and make people aware as we wouldn’t want another family to go through what we have."
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 information visit the UK Sepsis Trust website.
Find out more about our expertise in supporting patients and families affected by issues in care and conditions such as sepsis at our dedicated medical negligence section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.