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Memorial built for Dartford mum Sian Hollands who died after leaving Darent Valley Hospital


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A bench and a plaque in memory of a mum-of-three has been installed at a hospital.

Sian Hollands, from Dartford, died after suffering a cardiac arrest just hours after she was discharged from Darent Valley Hospital in 2015.

The bench installed outside of Darent Valley A&E in memory of Sian Hollands. Picture: Nicola Smith
The bench installed outside of Darent Valley A&E in memory of Sian Hollands. Picture: Nicola Smith

After an uphill battle trying to get the bench installed outside the hospital's A&E, Sian's mum, Nicola Smith, says she is happy she can take Sian's three children to visit the tribute to their mother.

The 50-year-old said: "It has been a long battle. Originally when I asked for a bench, I was told it would upset the staff too much.

"But that's not the point, it should be there as a reminder as to what could happen if something isn't diagnosed properly.

"I'm really pleased that it's there now. She's never going to be forgotten, and I don't want her to ever be forgotten.

"The head of nursing told me that every time she walked past someone had been sitting on the bench which was nice to hear.

Miss Smith visited the bench earlier today. Picture: Nicola Smith
Miss Smith visited the bench earlier today. Picture: Nicola Smith

"It has helped with closure but I will never come to terms with happened."

In 2017, an inquest heard that hospital staff missed a number of opportunities to correctly diagnose Sian's condition.

The 25-year-old had been taken into A&E by ambulance the day before she passed on November 15, 2015, just weeks after she had been released from prison and suffered an ectopic pregnancy.

She was on a methadone programme to keep her off heroin.

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust accepted seven failures that contributed to her death after they put her condition down to the fact she had not had her daily dose of methadone for three days.

The last photo taken of Sian, enjoying a family party the weekend before she died, with son Roman
The last photo taken of Sian, enjoying a family party the weekend before she died, with son Roman

The medical cause of her death given by pathologist Dr Ann Fleming was a pulmonary embolism, a hard to identify clot preventing blood reaching the lungs, but this was not considered by Dr Kamran Khan or nurses during their assessments.

Dr Khan admitted at the time Sian's poor health was not properly picked up on.

Miss Smith added: "I don't think I'll ever come to terms with what happened. It's another positive action from the trust that gives reassurance to us that they actually took notice of what we went through.

Sian Hollands with daughter Marne
Sian Hollands with daughter Marne

"I have three small children here and I need to be able to tell them exactly what happened to their mum when they're older.

"We were treated so badly as a family. It made me so determined to get the truths. I dug my heels in and fought back.

"Things are still hard, they're very hard. It's a hard battle, Sian's youngest child has no memories at all of her."

Last March the NHS agreed to pay damages to Sian's family after a claim was brought by Miss Smith to the High Court.

She now hopes lessons can be learnt from her daughter's preventable death.

"It has helped with closure but I will never come to terms with happened..."

Miss Smith has since been working with the hospital to produce training videos urging hospital staff to take a less judgmental approach when dealing with patients.

The Erith resident said: "I'm going to be working directly with NHS Direct. They've got the funding for it for us to go into a recording studio to make more videos with non-bias judgment, to encourage healthcare professionals to always have an alternative thought about a patient's diagnosis.

"To any families, if you feel something isn't right, then seek the truth and follow your heart because that's exactly what I did and I eventually got the truth.

"I can see why people crumble and cave because it's easy to do, everyone looks down on you but you just have to keep going.

"The hardest thing was that after it all I felt redundant and I didn't know what to do.

"It had taken up so much of my time, driving to get answers, it was like I hit a brick wall, but now I am so pleased that a bench has gone down."

Chief executive officer for Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust Louise Ashley said: "By listening and learning from each other we have become a better organisation.

"We have come a long way together with Sian's family who have given us valuable insights into the importance of involving and communicating with the families.

"This bench outside our A&E is in memory of Sian Hollands but stands for all that we have learned together."

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