A woman has settled a clinical negligence compensation claim after a urinary tract infection developed into a life-threatening case of sepsis.
Clare Wadey, 41, from Dartford, filed the claim against Gravesham Community Hospital, part of Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, over the negligent medical care she received in 2012.
Miss Wadley became so alarmed by the standard of treatment she was receiving that she insisted on an ambulance being called from her hospital bed so she could access urgent care.
Shortly after her admission in August, Miss Wadey, who was 37 at the time, started to experience increased fatigue and higher levels of loin pain and became increasingly reliant on a strong painkiller.
A week later, Miss Wadey became very unwell and her infection progressed to sepsis.
But despite repeatedly informing nurses of her symptoms, staff did not keep clear and accurate records of any treatment provided and the nurses failed to consider the possibility of sepsis or recognise that her condition required urgent attention.
Miss Wadey’s condition deteriorated further the next day, at which point she had lost all confidence in the nursing care and asked for an ambulance be called.
By the time the paramedics arrived, her temperature was recorded to be 40.5° and she was taken straight into intensive care.
She said: “My experience was both frustrating and traumatic. To be in hospital but to end up insisting on an ambulance being called yourself because you recognise you are seriously ill and those caring for you do not, is a position that no patient should be in.
"I felt sufficiently strongly about the basic failings in care that I wanted to draw attention to what had happened to me so lessons were learned. I am pleased to see the recent campaigns regarding awareness of sepsis and hope that the staff at Gravesham Community Hospital have learned something from my experience.”
Sally Hall, lead allied health professional for Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We would like to apologise to Miss Wadey for any distress that was caused. We take every incident seriously and investigate thoroughly to ensure the safety of our patients so it can’t happen again.
"Miss Wadey re-visited the hospital to see the improvements that we had put in place and we encouraged this. Our commissioners came in and inspected us and said we were a blueprint for excellence after the changes. Miss Wadey spoke personally to our board to explain her journey.’’
The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) manages negligence claims and Naomi Holland, an associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches who represented Miss Wadey, added: “This is an example of a case where a patient became extremely unwell with a life-threatening condition which could have been avoided.
"Since these events, she has made every effort to highlight the issues in her care so as to improve standards and avoid future incidents.
"Sadly, despite acknowledging that there were failings in our client’s care, the NHSLA’s conduct has been poor, in breach of the pre-action protocol in place for these claims and without any sensitivity to what our client has been through.”
Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is triggered by an infection.
Statistics released by the UK Sepsis Trust estimate that there are around 150,000 instances of sepsis in the UK every year and that it kills around 44,000 people.
It has been stressed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) that healthcare professionals should consider the possibility of sepsis in all patients who may have an infection.