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Family Continue Fight For Justice As Questions Remain Unanswered

Warrington Woman Sent Home After Emergency Treatment


The heartbroken family of a woman who died in excruciating pain from a serious infection six days after two medical professionals diagnosed her with Gout say they are determined to continue their quest for answers over how she died.

Devastated Mark Royall claims the outcome for his partner of 11 years, 58-year-old Irene Bentley, from Warrington, ‘could have been very different’ had she received proper care from two medical professionals who sent her home during the six days prior to her death.

Mark’s concerns come after Deputy Coroner Alan Walsh recorded a narrative verdict at Bolton Coroner’s court, saying that Irene - who had a blister and cut on her right foot - died in August 2010 from sepsis as a result of a soft tissue infection, despite receiving emergency medical treatment at the Royal Albert Infirmary in Wigan.

And now the distraught family, along  with their lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, are investigating how Irene’s condition was missed and what reassurances can be obtained to prevent this tragic episode being repeated with other patients.

Medical negligence expert Leena Savjani from Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office, said: “Far too often, we see cases where people have died or suffered in circumstances that could and should have been avoided.

“It is imperative that a full investigation is carried out by the Walk-In Centre and GP practice where Irene received treatment so her family can get the answers they so desperately need.”

In the weeks leading up to her death, Irene developed a cut in between her big toe and the toe next to it, causing her foot to swell, leaving her in agony and unable to attend her job as a cleaner at Riverdale Colour Ltd, where her partner Mark is managing director.

Mark says she also developed a fever and began to lose her appetite, prompting the mother-of-one and grandmother to visit Leigh Walk-In Centre complaining of a possible infection in her right foot, but she was instead diagnosed with gout, prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and sent home by a nurse.

Over the next three days, Irene’s condition deteriorated dramatically and she was unable to eat, drink, stand or wash and dress herself, prompting Mark to rush her to the Premiere Health Team practice in Leigh, by which time she had lost so much strength she had to be taken there in a wheelchair.

Mark said he was shocked that, after a quick inspection of Irene’s feet, her GP didn’t conduct basic observation tests such as taking her blood pressure or temperature but instead confirmed the diagnosis of gout made three days earlier, even though Irene’s condition had deteriorated significantly.  She was given cocodamol and stronger anti-inflammatories and sent home again.

The day after, Mark returned home from work to find Irene in terrible pain, and noticed that her lips and tips of her fingers had begun turning blue so he rushed her to A&E and the Royal Albert Infirmary in Wigan.

Hospital staff immediately realised the seriousness of Irene’s condition and admitted her as an emergency case, where she was put on a drip to boost her fluid levels and was given oxygen to help her breathe.

Her condition was diagnosed as severe sepsis (a widespread blood infection) and septic shock (severely low blood pressure) and, despite ventilation and IV anti-biotic therapy, she died the next day.

Commenting on his heartbreaking loss, Mark said: “Irene was a loving, caring person and we miss her every day. Towards the end of her life she was extremely unwell and put her health in the hands of medical staff, trusting them to do everything possible to help her and make sure she was comfortable. But instead she died in pain.”

Her 29-year-old daughter Gail adds: “We have lost a loving mother, grandmother and friend, well before her time at only 58. We’re all absolutely devastated.

“I don’t want what happened to my mum, or the heartache we are going through as a family, to be put on any one else ever again. I want a full investigation to be carried out at the places where my mum received treatment to see exactly what went wrong so things can be put right for the benefit of future patients.

“My hope is that through our loss we can force some change so no-one else has to go through this unnecessary trauma, of losing someone dear to them in circumstances that we believe could have been avoided.

“I’d also like to urge people not to be afraid to ask questions if they have concerns about the level of care they’re receiving from medical professionals – the consequences can be devastating.”