Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust has been fined over patient death

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Posted 29/04/2014

Carole Watts 1397335422_CaroleWattsCPX.jpg

The BBC has reported that the health trust which ran the Mid Staffordshire Hospital has been fined £200,000 for failing a diabetic patient who died in their care. 

Mrs Astbury, 66, died at the hospital when she lapsed into a coma after two nurses failed to notice her high blood sugars and give her insulin. A Nursing and Midwifery Council panel found the nurses guilty of misconduct, leading to one of the nurses being struck off. The second nurse was cautioned.

An inquest in 2010 also found that there had been a failure to provide basic care for Mrs Astbury, who had been admitted for fractures to her arm and pelvis.  

Mid Staffordshire Hospital pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety law and was also ordered to pay £27,000 in costs.  

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said the responsibility for the failures at the time of Mrs Astbury’s death lay with senior managers and that “This was a wholly avoidable and tragic death of a vulnerable patient who was admitted to hospital for care but died because of lack of it”.

He added: “As repeated investigations have revealed, there was a systemic failure at the Staffordshire Hospital in relation to two of the most basic tenets of patient care: proper hand-overs between nursing shifts, and proper record-keeping.  

These failures put legions of patients at Staffordshire Hospital at serious risk. The simple fact is that Mrs Astbury died because she was not given the insulin she needed.” 

Carole Watts, a medical injury solicitor at Ashtons Legal, commented:

“It is a tragedy that Mrs Astbury died as a result of a lack of basic care and that her death could have been avoided if her high blood sugars had not been missed and she had been given insulin.  

I hope that lessons have been learned from the Mid Staffordshire Hospital investigation that will lead to improvements in patient care in the NHS as a whole and will prevent further incidents such as this from happening again.”


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