Failure to diagnose infection - Suzanne's story

12 May 2016

Death of a mother caused by avoidable NHS failures
NHS failures led to mothers death

The High Court found that a hospital failed to appropriately treat 60 year old mother, Suzanne, who passed away as a result of a catalogue of negligent actions including failing to promptly carry out life-saving-surgery.

Suzanne sadly passed away after the hospital failed to diagnose an infection, following her admission with excruciating pain in her arms and hands including a rash and weeping blisters.

Mistakes made by both a nurse and doctor during initial assessments meant additional assessments were delayed by one hour as her condition was not marked as urgent and the essential information was not communicated. An x-ray of Suzanne’s elbow showed signs of an infection; however a doctor failed to recognise this.

Along with failures at triage in the accident and emergency department, there were delays in considering whether an infection was present and taking Suzanne to surgery. This led to Suzanne suffering two cardiac arrests.

As a consequence of negligent treatment, Suzanne‘s condition was not diagnosed in time. She was not provided with fluids or oxygen, and antibiotics were administered too late. Expert evidence revealed that all of these steps would have delayed the progression of the infection.

When Suzanne finally reached the operating theatre, unfortunately the surgeons considered the infection had spread too far and she was beyond saving. It was held that correct and timely surgery would have saved Suzanne’s life.

Suzanne’s family were devastated to learn her death could have been avoided and approached Andrea Rusbridge of Shoosmiths for assistance. Andrea helped the family through the legal process and a settlement was reached to reflect the pain and suffering caused to Suzanne and her family.



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024

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