Second family to sue hospital after death of another woman

Second family to sue hospital after death of another woman

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Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury

A second family is planning to sue Tunbridge Wells Hospital for negligence after a pensioner died, the Times can reveal.

The family of 69-year-old Sandra Wood are seeking compensation after a coroner criticised the Trust last week for failing to ‘correctly diagnose and treat her’.

On February 3, the Times reported that the husband of teacher Frances Cappuccini, who died at the hospital in 2012 after a Caesarean operation, is also suing the Trust for a reported six-figure sum.

And in a further development, the Trust’s Chief Executive issued a formal apology last week after it was reported that another pensioner, Edna Thompson, had died – this time at Maidstone Hospital – after an agency nurse allegedly refused to give her water in case she wet the bed.

In the case of Sandra Wood from Rochester, she was suffering a bowel obstruction when she arrived at the hospital on Friday, April 17 last year, but was sent home with painkillers and told to return for a CT scan the following Monday. She died the next day from natural causes.

At an inquest last week, Coroner Roger Hatch said the scan should have been carried out due to the ‘emergency situation’ and said the hospital’s weekend services were ‘highly unsatisfactory’.

Lawyer Tim Deeming of Slater and Gordon, who is representing Mrs Wood’s family, confirmed he had written to the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.

Mr Deeming said: “We have written to the Trust in relation to civil proceedings.

“I don’t think the family will be giving any more comments as they found the inquest very difficult, but were reassured by the Coroner’s referral for a report, and we await to read that in around 56 days’ time.”

Sandra Wood
Sandra Wood

In the case of Edna Thompson, 85, from Harrietsham, she was admitted to Maidstone with an eye condition in September but died from dehydration eight days later.

A Trust spokesman said: “We have more frontline staff working for us now than ever before, and we regularly review our staffing levels to ensure safe standards of care are maintained on our wards.

“We have enhanced many of the services in our hospitals to provide seven-day cover. The safety of our patients is paramount and our indicators show good outcomes.”

In the case of Mrs Thompson, the spokesman said: “We are very sorry that Mrs Thompson did not receive the high standards of care we would expect at our hospital, and we offer our deepest condolences to her family and friends.

“Whilst nothing we can say or do can change the outcome, we have thoroughly investigated the care and treatment she received. As a result, we have implemented a number of improvements to our systems and processes to improve patient care.

“Mrs Thompson received fluids as part of her nutrition but this was insufficient to counter the effects of the medication she was receiving.”

However, in the case of Mrs Wood the spokesman said that a CT scan would have been available had staff deemed it necessary.

The spokesman said: “To provide absolute clarity, we carry out CT scans at weekends and overnight. This is based on individual clinical need following careful clinical assessment.

“If it’s clinically believed, following assessment, that a patient requires a CT scan, this will be undertaken.

“Over the weekend of 18 and 19 April 2015, we carried out 139 CT scans.”