Hospital payout for cancer patient's family after 'failures in care'

Simon Tulitt, 62, from Yoxall, Burton-on-Trent, with his wife Janet. Photo credit: Family handout/PA
Simon Tulitt, 62, from Yoxall, Burton-on-Trent, with his wife Janet. Photo credit: Family handout/PA

A hospital has admitted liability for the death of a cancer patient who was not given the correct antibiotics.

Father-of-three Simon Tulitt was admitted to the Royal Derby Hospital for routine surgery for a cancerous growth on his bowel on May 28 2013.

The 62-year-old contracted sepsis, also referred to as blood poisoning, after undergoing key hole surgery, was not prescribed the right antibiotics and died of multiple organ failure on May 31 2013.

Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, has admitted liability and settled a clinical negligence case for an undisclosed sum.

Mr Tulitt, of Yoxall, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, was described by his widow Janet Tulitt, 58, as a "very active" man who enjoyed swimming and going to the gym.

"My husband went into hospital for non-emergency surgery and instead of taking him home three days later like we expected, my family had the devastating task of turning off his life support," she said.

"This shouldn't have happened."

She said she hoped lessons had been learned so "no other family has to go through the avoidable pain and suffering we have".

Mr Tulitt was not given appropriate antibiotic cover for his surgery and contracted sepsis afterwards.

He was then not given appropriate antibiotics to prevent the sepsis from spreading.

An inquest into Mr Tulitt's death in 2016 heard there were failures to recognise and manage sepsis and a failure to administer appropriate antibiotics in a timely fashion before and after surgery.

Kate Harrison, a clinical negligence solicitor at Nelsons Solicitors, which acted for Mrs Tulitt, said: "Mr Tulitt was not provided with the proper care he needed and, following a series of avoidable errors, died the day he was due to be discharged.

"There were delays in administering antibiotics and mistakes made in the administration of medicine that could have saved his life.

"We are pleased that Mrs Tulitt and her family have received the apology and action from the trust they deserved.

"We hope they receive some closure from the outcome."

Following Mr Tulitt's death, Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust created a sepsis care bundle which it said had been implemented in all emergency areas and all adult wards.

Derby Teaching Hospitals said: "We sincerely regret the failures in the care we provided to Mr Tulitt in May 2013.

"We offer our heartfelt apology to the family for their tragic loss and we hope the compensation which has now been agreed will provide them with financial security.

"In the five years since Mr Tulitt's death we have made significant progress in our detection and early treatment of sepsis.

"As a result of the improvements which have been made, the trust now has one of the region's lowest in-patient mortality rates for sepsis.

"Patients receiving treatment in our hospitals now have a 32% lower chance of dying of sepsis in Derby than the national average."