The sister of a woman who died after being left untreated for hours at Blackpool Victoria Hospital today slammed her care as “disgusting” – as a coroner demanded answers from hospital chiefs
Ann Day, of Riversway, Poulton, spoke out following an inquest into the death of her sibling Linda Lloyd, 63.
The court heard Mrs Lloyd, of Heaton Close, Carleton, should have been treated within 10 minutes of arrival at hospital and given a vital scan after falling ill at her home on January 2.
But she was left for two-and-a-half hours before she was seen by doctors.
A CT (computerised tomography) scan was eventually ordered – more than four hours after she arrived at Accident and Emergency suffering from a reduced level of consciousness.
She was taken to Royal Preston Hospital for further treatment, but died hours later.
A post mortem revealed Mrs Lloyd had suffered from a brain haemorrhage.
Mrs Day said: “It is disgusting the way she was treated.
“Linda should have had a CT scan within the first hour, but despite arriving at 7.15pm, was not scanned until the early hours of the morning – all those hours were lost.
“You see it on TV – act fast.
“You put your faith in the hospital thinking everything is going to be OK. It makes you scared. There is no trust in the hospital trust.
“Linda was my best friend. We were very close and she was caring and considerate.
“There is not a day that goes by when I do not think about her.”
Paramedics were called to Mrs Lloyd’s home around 6.30pm on January 2, where she was found on her bed, unable to talk.
After an initial assessment, paramedics took Mrs Lloyd to hospital when they discovered she had suffered three heart attacks in the last year and been fitted with a defibrillator and pacemaker.
The former advertising representative was given an orange priority warning on arrival at A&E, meaning she should have been seen within 10 minutes, but Mrs Day said her sister was left on a trolley for close to three hours.
Mrs Day complained to staff after an initial 45-minute wait, only to be told Mrs Lloyd was in a queue behind three other people.
A scan took place after midnight, before doctors decided to transfer Mrs Lloyd to the critical care unit at Royal Preston Hospital. She died around 8pm on January 3.
The inquest was the third into Mrs Lloyd’s death this year, with a report into the circumstances around her death written by Peter Goode, an A&E consultant from Newcastle.
Reading Mr Goode’s report, Blackpool coroner Alan Wilson said checks, including the Glasgow Coma Score (GCS), a scale to discover consciousness, and the Manchester Triage System, a way to put patients in order of critical care, had been ignored.
He added: “While the use of the Manchester Triage System was correct, designating a patient as ‘very urgent’ (to be seen in 10 minutes) and doing nothing about it is completely unacceptable.
“It is also unacceptable that it was more than two hours before Mrs Lloyd had a second GCS recorded by the examining doctor then there was a further long delay before the GCS was taken again and recorded on an observation chart.
“The bleeding that was occurring was a dynamic process and repeated neurological observations are vital to pick up an evolving deterioration in GCS.”
He added the prognosis in relation to brain haemorrhages had long been recognised to be poor, with mortality rates of up to 90 per cent despite surgical treatment, but recent work has emphasised the importance of rapid diagnosis and surgery with the potential to halve the mortality.
Blackpool NHS Trust chose not to attend the inquest, but in a solicitor’s letter, said it accepted the findings of the report.
It said a junior staff nurse had not been aware of the procedure around an orange priority patient.
It added only senior nursing staff now work in triage, with a new system implemented regarding head trauma in February.
Delivering a narrative verdict, Mr Wilson told the inquest: “She (Mrs Lloyd) was taken to hospital where she was diagnosed and assessed as a very urgent priority.
“She was assessed by a doctor at 22.12 hours and a CT scan was not reported on until 1.15am which confirmed a haemorrhage. She was not fit to send in for surgery.
“There was a delay in treatment which could have affected the outcome.”
He added he would write to the Trust about the incident.
Mr Wilson said: “I am encouraged by the fact there is work being undertaken by way of a review but not to the extent I will not be writing to the Trust.
“I do feel as though the law requires me to make a report to the Trust as there are concerns there maybe similar occurrences. I will be writing to the Trust and the Trust will have 56 days to respond.
“The correspondence will be, I accept, the verdict from Mr Goode and I am concerned about the risk of further occurrences.”
A spokesman for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Trust has accepted the findings of the independent report into this case and would like to pass on its sincere condolences to the family of Mrs Lloyd.
“The report highlighted areas of care that could have been improved and the Trust is committed to learning from these incidents.”