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Our 5-year wait for NHS apology
10:00am Saturday 15th September 2012 in News
A HOSPITAL has apologised nearly five years after it failed to screen a great grandfather for a superbug that killed him.
Southend Hospital admitted failing to follow its own policy and test Frederick Smith for MRSA before an operation in February 2008 at an inquest into his death at Southend Coroners’ Court yesterday.
Daughter Sharon Holt, 55, of Priory Avenue, Prittlewell, said: “I’m happy with the apology.”
Mr Smith, 81, of Bellevue Place, Southchurch, died of infections that developed after a hip replacement operation at the hospital on April 9, 2008.
The family will never know if a skin test for MRSA would have saved Mr Smith, as it is impossible to know if the superbug would have shown up. It could have been present inside the joint already, the inquest heard.
But Mr Smith was only treated for MRSA when it was diagnosed 13 days later.
The hospital admitted a sequence of failures of care, including repeatedly giving the diabetic the wrong kind of insulin, failing to monitor his eating and staff being rude and ignoring concerns of the family.
Coroner Dr Peter Dean said: “It’s clear, as the family have expressed, a sequence of failings took place.
“There were failings of communication, there were failings in respect of the way in which infection prevention was managed, and there has been a full and frank apology by the hospital today in this very detailed report.”
Recording a narrative verdict, Dr Dean said: “In looking at all the circumstances, the death clearly occurred from complications, namely bronchopneumonia, septicaemia and MRSA, following hip surgery.”
Jacqueline Totterdell, chief executive of the hospital, said: “We extend our sincere condolences to Mr Smith’s family at this difficult time.
“We accept mistakes were made in the care Mr Smith received in 2008, and that communication with his family could have been better.
“Having identified what went wrong we have worked hard to ensure the same situation does not happen again and have reviewed, and improved, our systems as well as our staff training and auditing.”
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