Woman died after having all her teeth removed

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Rachel Johnston, a ‘happy and alert’ disabled woman, died after having all her teeth removed, an inquest heard.

Ms Johnston, 49, had to have all of her teeth removed as she was at risk of pain and infection due to severe decay.

The procedure took place at Kidderminster Hospital in 2018. Following the operation, she was discharged to Pirton Grange Care Home near Worcester. She was visited by her mother the next day who found her slumped to one side and breathing heavily. Her mouth had been bleeding and her tongue swollen.

Ms Johnston’s mother asked staff at the care home to call a doctor. Instead, they waited until the evening and called NHS’ 111 service. An hour and a half later they received a call from a nurse practitioner who assessed the situation and told the carer to call again if Ms Johnston’s condition worsened.

The next day, carers called an ambulance for Ms Johnston as her condition had severely deteriorated. She suffered a hypoxic brain injury and died 10 days after being admitted to hospital.

The nurse practitioner has since said that she regrets not making a full assessment of Ms Johnston’s breathing difficulties and consciousness. She says she was not aware of how quickly Ms Johnston was deteriorating and did not detect urgency in the carer’s voice.

A medical negligence specialist at Ashtons Legal, comments: “It’s tragic that there were significant delays in getting Ms Johnston the medical care that she so urgently needed. Had the severity of her symptoms been recognised quicker then she may not have lost her life. This scenario highlights the importance of NHS’ 111 practitioners asking enough questions to determine whether the matter is to be considered urgent or not. Unfortunately, NHS staff are under increasing amounts of pressure which may result in further delays and mistakes being made.”


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