Kimberly James-Long of the Lyons Davidson Solicitors clinical negligence department recently received a positive outcome for her client. Kimberly was instructed to assist the family with an inquest into the clients death.
Kimberly’s client had been admitted to the Good Hope Hospital, Birmingham on 11th February 2023, following a fall at home. Initial investigations were carried out upon their admission that indicated the presence of an infection. This finding was not identified or acted upon by treating clinical staff. The client then remained under the care of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust from the date of admission until their death on 9th March 2023. Throughout this period, the client showed signs of confusion and later delirium, and their state generally deteriorated. Clinicians did not link their symptoms to an ongoing infection (and later sepsis) and anti-biotics were not started until 2nd March.
Whilst a resident on the ward in Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, the client experienced two falls (on 15th and 27th February 2023), the first of which occurring whilst nominally on a 1:1 supervision regime. Both falls required surgery. Following the second surgical intervention on 3rd March, the client’s condition further deteriorated, and end of life care was started. The client sadly died on 9th of March due to the effects of ongoing urosepsis.
Following an Inquest at Birmingham Coroner’s Court, it was found that there had been a failure to carry out basic investigations into the client’s condition upon initial admission. The Coroner recorded that there were also several further missed opportunities to diagnose an infection and to start anti-biotics. It was also found that the client’s first fall on the ward was avoidable and should not have occurred. These failures, taken together, amounted to a “gross failure” to provide basic medical attention.
The Coroner therefore concluded that the client died as a consequence of untreated urosepsis, contributed to by falls and included a finding of Neglect on the Record of Inquest. A case for clinical negligence is now proceeding.
This case shows the benefit of getting us involved with inquest hearings, not only to help ensure the right finding but also to provide support, information and guidance through what can be a challenging process.
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