A FORMER nurse who died on Basildon Hospital’s diabetic ward was deprived of insulin for nine hours because her syringe driver was not connected.
Staff on the Mary Seacole ward did not realise the syringe, supposed to be administering insulin to diabetes sufferer Luz Tacon, 61, wasn’t connected until an hour after her death, because it was under her blanket.
A hospital report into the death showed a lack of communication between nurses, with no information passed down to night staff about Mrs Tacon’s care. A night nurse also failed to check a handover book.
Mrs Tacon’s daughter, Georgina Tacon, 25, was left dismayed by her mother’s death.
However, she does not plan to sue the hospital for compensation.
She said: “We do not wish to sue, in case it reduces the hospital’s resources and impacts on standards of care, but I want the public to know what happened to raise awareness of the importance of diagnosing and managing diabetes.
“Insulin is key to diabetic care. My mother was a diabetic, admitted to the hospital in a diabetic emergency, transferred to a diabetic care ward, to be treated by supposedly trained diabetic nurses – yet she was carelessly deprived of insulin.”
Mrs Tacon, of Finchley Road, Grays, who worked in the NHS for 20 years, had type two diabetes. She was admitted to A&E with increased blood-sugar levels on January 10 last year.
After 19 days in intensive care, she was transferred to the Mary Seacole ward, specialising in the care of patients with diabetes, on January 29. By the early hours of January 30, Mrs Tacon was dead.
The hospital report into the death said the syringe driver had not been connected to Mrs Tacon, despite it being placed on her bed during her transfer from intensive care. Blood sugar levels were then not recorded, due to the driver not being attached.
Commenting on the breakdown of communication between staff in intensive care and the ward, the report said: “The handover to the late staff was very sparse – no clinical/nursing information was given to the night staff, they only knew a patient was coming later.
“Allegedly, the night nurse was told to look in the handover book that is kept on the ward. This stated that patient Luz Tacon had a sliding scale of insulin.
“On questioning the night nurse, she confirmed she does not generally look in the handover book.”
A coroner said the primary cause of death was pulmonary oedema, a build up of fluid on the lungs.
Miss Tacon said her family have not received an official apology from the hospital.
She said: “All I ask is the hospital ensures medical care levels are drastically increased, so negligence like this is never repeated.”