An inquest has heard that a patient at Tameside Hospital was left unchecked by nurses for 12 hours. Barbara White, 77 sadly died after staff failed to spot that she was going into cardiac arrest and struggling to breathe due to an infection in her gallbladder.

On the night Mrs White was admitted there was one qualified nurse looking after 20 very ill patients. Records showed that no observations were taken from 6pm on the day she was admitted until 6am the following morning. Furthermore, when observations were taken they were not interpreted correctly which led to a further 2 hour delay in realising her critical condition.

Mrs White underwent emergency bowel surgery and a tracheotomy but she sadly died 3 weeks after admission.

The hospital’s internal investigation found that a healthcare assistant, who was not familiar with the unit, was used to replace a nurse when the ward was short-staffed. Instructions that results were to be reviewed overnight were not followed.

The coroner recorded a verdict of death by natural causes. However, the coroner is writing to the hospital as she is concerned about the evidence which came to light during the inquest.

The hospital has now recruited more permanent nursing staff and is currently aiming to have 1 nurse to 10 patients on all wards. Staff have also been given extra training.

If you have concerns over the care received by a family member whilst in hospital please do not hesitate to contact us for a confidential discussion. We can also assist with the inquest process