Published: 10:46, 24 September 2021
| Updated: 14:43, 08 October 2021
A hospital trust is being investigated after a mother-of-two died from sepsis hours after being admitted.
Symone Salwan from Tunbridge Wells, was taken by ambulance to Tunbridge Wells Hospital in February last year after complaining of four days of flu-like symptoms and pain in her hip and leg.
The businesswoman developed the bacterial infection necrotising fasciitis – often known as “flesh-eating disease”.
Her condition continued to deteriorate and Symone was admitted to intensive care. She died later the same day aged 49.
Following her death, Symone's grieving family instructed medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care under Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW), which runs the Tunbridge Wells Hospital.
With investigations continuing, Symone’s partner Graham Crabb, 56, and her brother Simon Salwan, 48, are campaigning to raise awareness of the signs of sepsis – which sees the body attack itself in response to an infection - and the importance of early treatment.
Mr Salwan said: “Symone was a beautiful mother, partner, sister, daughter, auntie and loyal friend to many.
“Her unexpected death has left a deep hole in all our hearts that will be difficult to heal.
"However, our happy memories, her warmth, her kindness and her perseverance to make a positive impact in this world will stay with us forever.
“Symone adored her family; she was a caring and amazing friend. She loved dancing, the outdoors, the sun, good wine, good chats and good laughs.
“She was also an incredible woman, a super-woman and devoted her time to making a real difference to the lives of older people.
"She understood that love, kindness and compassion were all part of the health care that should be given to older people.
“The last year or so and trying to come to terms with what happened has been incredibly difficult for all of us.
“This is made all the harder by still having so many unanswered questions. Symone always wanted to help people so we thought it was important to honour her memory by trying to help others be aware just how dangerous sepsis can be.”
Symone, who was previously fit and healthy, began feeling unwell with flu-like symptoms on February 12 last year. Two days later she fainted at home.
She became confused and was taken by ambulance to hospital at around 5.30am on February 16.
She had a raised temperature, was vomiting, and it was noted she hadn’t passed urine for several days.
Throughout the day her condition continued to deteriorate. That evening Symone was transferred to intensive care as she had developed multiple organ failure.
She died at 10.45pm that night.
Symone, who had a son, Kishi, aged 11, and a daughter, Kaya, aged nine, set up a business in 2011 providing care and support to people in their own homes, following the death of her grandma.
The company won several awards including at the 2017 Sevenoaks Community and Voluntary Awards.
Symone was an avid fundraiser for national and local charities. She co-chaired the Sevenoaks Area Dementia Friendly Community, chaired the West Kent Dementia Action and was a trustee of the Carers Wellbeing Initiative.
Following her death Symone’s family continued to raise money for charities in her memory.
Rachel Osborne, specialist medical negligence expert at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Graham, Simon and the rest of Symone’s family have been left heartbroken by their unexpected loss.
"Understandably they have many questions about the events that unfolded in the lead up to Symone’s sudden death.
“We’re now investigating the family’s concerns to provide them with the answers they deserve.
“In the meantime it’s vital that people are aware of the signs of sepsis, the importance of seeking urgent medical attention and how early diagnosis and treatment can make all the difference.”
"Understandably they have many questions about the events that unfolded in the lead up to Symone’s sudden death..."
Signs of sepsis include slurred speech, confusion, extreme shivering and muscle pain, passing no urine in a day, severe breathlessness and mottled or discoloured skin.
A spokesman from MTW said: “Our deepest sympathies are with the family of Ms Salwan after her sad passing last year.
“As the case is currently the subject of ongoing proceedings, we are unable to comment further on the matter at this time.”