Girl, 12, dies of septicaemia after ‘doctors were too busy to do simple blood tests’

December 28th, 20112:55 pm @

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  • Emma Stones died from blood poisoning 16 hours after being admitted to hospital
  • Her blood pressure was never taken as it should have been under hospital policy, inquest hears

By
Nick Enoch

Last updated at 1:57 PM on 28th December 2011

A girl of 12 died after doctors failed to carry out blood tests
because they were too busy, an inquest was told. 

Emma Stones was admitted
to Tameside General Hospital in Greater Manchester with flu-like symptoms but contracted a bacterial
infection which led to septicaemia.

She died from the blood poisoning 16
hours after she was admitted to the hospital.

Emma Stones, 12, was admitted to Tameside General Hospital in Greater Manchester with flu-like symptoms but contracted a bacterial infection which led to septicaemia

Emma Stones, 12, was admitted to Tameside General Hospital in Greater Manchester with flu-like symptoms but contracted a bacterial infection which led to septicaemia

The inquest heard how there
was a catalogue of errors in the lead-up to her death.

Coroner John
Pollard criticised the lack of urgency and co-ordination in her care, but he
said he could not be sure that earlier intervention would have saved her.

The hearing was told how:

  • Emma’s blood pressure was never taken as it should
    have been under hospital policy;
  • A junior doctor wanted to take a blood sample
    but a senior registrar was too busy to help;
  • A team of three nurses failed to
    regularly monitor her throughout the night – she should have been observed
    every four hours;
  • One nurse was suspended as a result and later received a
    warning after an internal disciplinary hearing;
  • Two other nurses will now be
    made subject of extra training in observations

A series of policy changes
have been implemented at the hospital as a result of Emma’s death. 

Mr
Pollard said the issues amounted to ‘inertia’ on the part of staff.

Emma, a pupil at Cromwell High in Tameside, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. She lived with her twin sister, Christina, and parents Mike Stones and Tracey Futcher (pictured) in Dukinfield, near Tameside

Emma, a pupil at Cromwell High in Tameside, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. She lived with her twin sister, Christina, and parents Mike Stones and Tracey Futcher (pictured) in Dukinfield, near Tameside

Emma,
a pupil at Cromwell High in Tameside, Greater Manchester, was diagnosed with
cerebral palsy at birth. 

Doctors said she was stable before her condition
deteriorated without warning.

She lived with her twin sister, Christina,
and parents Mike Stones and Tracey Futcher on Chester Avenue in Dukinfield,
near Tameside.

Emma, who suffered health problems throughout her life,
was taken to hospital on the advice of community nurses at around 3.45pm on
Sunday, February 6. 

The hearing was told how junior doctor Dr Kayleigh
Hughes wanted to take a sample of her blood and asked for help. 

But a
senior registrar was too busy to carry out the test due to his workload, the
inquest heard.

Coroner John Pollard criticised the lack of urgency and co-ordination in Emma's care at Tameside Hospital, but he said he could not be sure that earlier intervention would have saved her

Coroner John Pollard criticised the lack of urgency and co-ordination in Emma’s care at Tameside Hospital, but he said he could not be sure that earlier intervention would have saved her

Mr Pollard also hit out at a breakdown of communication between
staff. 

Dr Hughes wasn’t told that Emma’s heart rate had risen rapidly,
the inquest heard.

BLOOD POISONING

Septicaemia is a life-threatening condition where bacteria invade the bloodstream.

It
is usually triggered by an infection in another part of the body, such
as pneumonia, meningitis, bladder infections or even a tooth abscess.

The
bacteria escape from this initial infection and enter the blood,
causing a series of reactions that can lead to swelling of the blood
vessels and blood clots.

There are about 300,000 cases a year and up to 15,000 deaths.

If untreated, it develops into septic shock, where blood pressure drops and organs fail.

There was nothing to indicate that Emma was seriously
ill, but her heart rate increased five hours after her admission.

The
inquest
was also told that key information about what treatment Emma might have
needed was not included on a handover note when staff changed shifts.

Emma’s condition deteriorated and she had a heart attack at around 8.15am the
following Monday morning.

Tests ruled she contracted an infection, group A streptococcus, which led to septicaemia, or blood poisoning.

The infection,
described as serious and rapidly progressive, could have caused toxic shock
syndrome.

Children’s services matron Wendy Hulse said changes to nursing
policies had been made.

The inquest heard that doctors’ notes will now be
reviewed with regard to their content, not just their dating and signing.

Detailed changes to staff shift handover arrangements are also being
made.

Philip Dylak, director of nursing at Tameside Hospital NHS
Foundation Trust, said: ‘While it would not be appropriate for the hospital to
comment on the details until the coroner has reached his verdict, we would wish
to express our deepest sympathies to the family of Emma Stones at this very
difficult time.’ 

The inquest will resume on March 6, where Mr Pollard is
due to reveal his findings.

Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2079362/Girl-12-dies-septicaemia-doctors-busy-simple-blood-tests.html?ITO=1490