Care shake-up after shock death of mum in Sunderland hospital

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THE shock death of a patient sparked a care shake-up at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

An inquest heard how the sudden death of 65-year-old Pauline Adams from a kidney infection was a cause for “concern”.

The mum, from Seaham, was admitted to the city hospital on April 13 last year after experiencing pains in her left side.

Initially suspected to have kidney stones, she was kept on the emergency admissions ward until the next day when a scan revealed the severity of her condition.

The hearing was told Mrs Adams was suffering from a life-threatening infection in her kidney, caused by E.Coli, which was “ultimately due” to kidney stones.

Assistant coroner Karin Welsh said if care had been given more swiftly, it could possibly have saved her life.

A consultant urologist took an hour to arrive to assess her condition, despite being expected within half an hour after an emergency call.

“I’m concerned that she wasn’t seen earlier by the urologist,” she said.

“And that although she was admitted on the 13th, it wasn’t until 2pm the next day that the seriousness of the condition was known.

“If antibiotics had been administered earlier they may have helped the infection, but I wouldn’t say more than may.”

Eight members of Mrs Adams’s family attended the inquest, and heard how since her death on April 14, procedures have been put in place at the hospital and throughout the NHS Foundation Trust to avoid similar lapses in care.

Questions were raised by Mrs Adams’s sister Christine Allchin as to why vital information, on a fluid balance chart, was missing from her sister’s patient records.

Hospital matron Denise Simpson said: “There were missing entries and it wasn’t of the standard I would have accepted.

“There are often problems when the patient is out of the ward, but the fluid balance chart is very important for the medical staff.

“We have reviewed them and the Trust has started a chart which covers everything, so staff can mark all the observations on one chart.

“It is also now easier for nursing staff to escalate care and contact consultants.”

Karen Welsh noted that a number of factors had contributed to Mrs Adams’s death, but highlighted the need for more rapid care.

In a narrative conclusion, she said Mrs Adams died as a result of natural causes but added: “However, an opportunity to render potentially preventative treatment was lost due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control.”