The devastated family of a diabetic woman who died in hospital after bungling medics TWICE failed to carry out life-saving tests have received a payout from the NHS.
Tragic Margaret Pitt, 55, suffered irreversible brain damage after staff at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, Worcs., FORGOT to monitor her blood sugar levels.
The mum-of-three, who suffered from Type 1 diabetes for 30 years, admitted herself to hospital when she noticed her glucose had dropped dangerously low.
A damning inquiry into her care uncovered shocking failings after it emerged she did not receive vital blood tests for over a week – despite being on a specialist diabetic care ward.
The teaching assistant – known as ‘Maggie’ by her family – suffered a severe hypoglycemic attack as her blood sugar dropped and she collapsed.
Doctors told her devastated family there was nothing they could do and Maggie, from Redditch, died on November 21, 2010.
Today it emerged her husband David, 62, had won an undisclosed settlement from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which admitted Maggie would still be alive if the checks had been done.
Retired credit manager David welcomed the apology but said his family would never recover from his wife’s untimely death.
He said: “Maggie and I had been happily married for 35 years and I still can’t get used to life without her.
“The entire family is distraught by her death and it’s hard not to remain angry that she was let down so badly by the nurses that were employed to care for her and make her better.
“Maggie was on a ward which was supposed to have experience of caring for diabetic patients and supposedly had the expertise to treat her condition, yet it appears she was just left to deteriorate without anyone checking her blood sugar levels.
“My wife deserved far better. She was on a ward which was supposed to have experience of caring for diabetic patients and supposedly had the expertise to treat her condition, yet it appears she was just left to deteriorate without anyone checking her blood sugar levels.
“We just hope Maggie’s death was not completely in vain and that lessons are learnt by trusts across the country so guidelines to protect patients like her will not be ignored again.”
An inquest in June this year heard Maggie had admitted herself to the Alexandra Hospital on November 4, 2010 after she noticed her blood sugar levels had dropped significantly.
After being stabilised in intensive care, the court heard it was experienced nurse Sister Jackie Charman who failed to carry out the blood tests.
Maggie’s condition deteriorated and after she collapsed on November 13 doctors found she had suffered irreversible brain damage as a result of hypoglycemia.
She was eventually transferred to a hospice on November 19 where she died two days later.
Worcestershire Deputy Coroner Marguerite Elcock described Charman’s actions as a ‘gross failure to provide basic medical treatment’.
She could be struck off later this year when the Nursing and Midwifery Council will consider her fitness to practice.
The Trust said it apologised ‘unreservedly’ for the failures which led to Maggie’s death and vowed to improve its procedures.
Deputy Chief Executive Chris Tidman said: “Following our internal investigation and the inquest into Mrs Pitt’s death in June 2012, a number of improvements have been made to our clinical processes and our staff training programmes to ensure that these mistakes don’t happen again.
“We again offer Mrs Pitt’s family our unreserved apologies over the failures identified in Mrs Pitt’s care.”
Sara Burns, from law firm Irwin Mitchell, which represented the family, called for lessons to be learnt following Maggie’s treatment.
She said: “Margaret had lived with diabetes for 30 years yet the hospital repeatedly missed opportunities to check and stabilise Margaret’s blood sugar to manage her condition.
“This is totally unacceptable, especially with such a well-known condition – patient safety should be the number one priority.
“We were shocked and appalled at the evidence that emerged at the inquest and whilst nothing can bring Margaret back, we hope the admission of liability, settlement and apology provides some justice to her devoted family.”