Mistakes by staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital while caring for a great-grandmother has prompted her family to take legal action.
The failures were uncovered during an inquest into the death of Linda Fisher, of Fleetwood, who collapsed in the hospital toilets after developing a fatal blood clot.
Following yesterday’s hearing, the 61-year-old’s family paid an emotional tribute to her said they were launching a medical negligence claim against the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust, which runs the facility.
During the inquest at Blackpool Town Hall, it emerged staff at the hospital failed to note a family history of pulmonary embolism – which killed her mother and grandmother – when Mrs Fisher, of Milton Street, was admitted on October 8 last year.
Speaking after the inquest, daughter Allita Fisher, 32, also of Fleetwood, said: “She was so well known in Fleetwood. She was definitely a pillar of community.” The foster carer, who was also a governor at Chaucer School, was taken to hospital with severe pain in her knee but despite being prescribed stockings to help prevent clots forming in her legs it was days before doctors told her about them.
Four days after she was admitted, staff noticed a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in her left thigh that led to the pulmonary embolism whichkilled her on October 17.
And concerns over the recording of the family history, that doctors admitted could have delayed a scan used to confirm the DVT, prompted coroner Alan Wilson to write to the hospital trust over its practices.
Although Dr Vijay Kamath said the Doppler scan – administered a week after Mrs Fisher was first admitted – might have been performed sooner, he insisted the delay in discovering this history would not have affected the treatment she was given.
Mr Wilson, who recorded a narrative verdict, said he also plans to write to bosses over the use of potentially inaccurate patient weight estimates when deciding the quantity of medication to prescribe.
He said: “I remain somewhat concerned this issue of how to obtain reliable information about the weight of a patient could lead to future deaths.”
Because Mrs Fisher had difficulty standing and could not be weighed, a doctor prescribed her medication based on the weight she told him, without first verifying it. The same doctor then breached hospital protocol by writing over her existing prescription rather than issuing a new one when he upped her dose.
But Mr Wilson stopped short of blaming staff for Mrs Fisher’s death, saying the mistakes did not amount to gross negligence.
Dr Mark O’Donnell, medical director at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Trust would like to pass on its deepest condolences to the family.
“A full investigation into this incident concluded in December 2013 and identified issues which the coroner also highlighted during the inquest process. The Trust is working to resolve the concerns raised and will ensure lessons are learned and shared among staff. The Trust will co-operate fully with the coroner in the matter.”
But Miss Fisher said she still had concerns over the way her mother was treated.
Despite claiming she had told doctors about the history of pulmonary embolism when her mother was first admitted, the inquest heard it was days after admission that any mention of it appeared in the medical notes.
It also emerged the 61-year-old, who worked part time at Fleetwood Conservative Club, was prescribed special anti-embolism stockings on the day she was admitted but doctors didn’t ask her to wear them because they assumed she was in too much pain.
Miss Fisher said: “The coroner said we could go away and celebrate mum’s life but that is easier said than done.
“We still can’t go away and grieve because there is still so much to sort out. If they had noted the family history the treatment would have gone differently.
“The stockings are there to prevent DVT but my mum wasn’t given that option.”
The family has instructed Manchester-based solicitors Linder Myers to take legal action on their behalf.