Mum dies on holiday after NHS hospital misses her fatal illness

Mum dies on holiday after NHS hospital misses her fatal illness

A MOTHER died from appendicitis after receiving "appalling care" at an NHS hospital, it has been revealed.

Express

The woman's family will receive a six-figure sum in compensation after Croydon University Hospital missed signs of appendicitis when she was admitted. The mum of two, named only as Sarah, died around a week later after travelling to Jamaica for a holiday.

Her children were just eight and 12-years-old at the time of her death. They are now cared for by their grandparents, who brought a case of clinical negligence against the hospital.

Sarah was sent to the hospital by her GP after having stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomiting, they thought it could be appendicitis or a urinary tract infection. On arrival at the hospital she was sent to accident and emergency for further investigation.

There she was diagnosed with having inflammation of the colon and put on antibiotics. Signs of infection and appendicitis were missed.

After a few days she was discharged, despite blood tests showing she had a high white blood cell count, a sign of an infection. A follow-up appointment and colonoscopy was arranged for four weeks later to investigate the issue.

Despite still having stomach pain, Sarah was due to go to Jamaica on holiday and had been signed off as fit to fly by her GP. But on the flight, the pain got worse and she was rushed straight to a private clinic on arrival.

Hours later she was transferred to a hospital on the island where it was discovered her appendix had ruptured and she had developed severe septicaemia. Although doctors started emergency surgery to remove the appendix, she sadly died.

A post-mortem in Jamaica deemed the cause of death to be septicaemia, peritonitis, and a ruptured appendix. Charlotte Cooper, clinical negligence solicitor at Leigh Day, said: "Nothing can bring back my clients’ daughter, who suffered appalling care at the hands of Croydon University Hospital.

"Opportunities were missed to diagnose appendicitis, which could have been easily treated and would have meant that she made a full recovery. As it stands, two young children have to grow up without their mother. It is hoped that lessons have been learned and procedures improved to make sure this doesn’t happen again."

Leigh Day said the health trust admitted liability, stating that in light of the concerning blood test results whilst Sarah was in hospital, further tests should have been carried out which would have identified inflammation around the appendix.

A spokesperson from Croydon Health Services NHS Trust said: "We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family of the patient and offer our sincere apologies that our care did not meet the highest standards that we expect.

"The early diagnosis of appendicitis can be difficult due to overlapping or missing symptoms, however the trust has accepted full responsibility and has already taken immediate steps to prevent this from happening again. This includes increased review of radiology reports in and out of hours, and the introduction of an acute surgical review clinic where patients who have left our care can be monitored and assessed to ensure they are recovering."