Torbay hospital blunder

A Torquay women sent to hospital with a suspected pulmonary embolism died two days later after medics decided to treat her for a number of entirely different conditions.

Lisa Gilbert, of Cormorant Close, Torquay, was admitted to Torbay Hospital on her 49th birthday with a letter from her GP detailing her condition.  The hospital’s A&E department concurred with this diagnosis and transferred her to its medical unit.  Fatally, instead of giving her a CT pulmonary angiogram (the correct treatment for a DVT) and then treating her accordingly, the medics pursued a course of treatment that included a blood transfusion and an ECG.

LISTEN HERE: Joanna, Laura & Hayley tell their story

By this time Mrs Gilbert was complaining of breathlessness and feeling very hot, several hours after that she was hyperventilating and unable to complete sentences.  Her right leg was also swollen, a classic sign of a DVT.  However, the medics continued with their inappropriate treatment plan.  Two days later, as her condition continued to deteriorate and in obvious distress, Mrs Gilbert suffered a cardiac arrest.

In the Intensive Care Unit the surgical registrar diagnosed a deep vein thrombosis and Mrs Gilbert was finally treated for a pulmonary embolism.  Unfortunately this treatment came too late and several hours later, she was dead.   The hospital has now admitted liability.

Tracey Benson of Russell Jones & Walker, the firm of solicitors acting on behalf of the family, said: "Lisa's family – her daughters, grandchildren and sister - have suffered throughout this deeply traumatic time.  Mrs Gilbert’s death was completely unnecessary and we are now negotiating with the South Devon Health Care NHS Foundation Trust for compensation for her daughters.  The Trust have admitted liability in full."

Hayley King, one of Mrs Gilbert’s three daughters who lives in Newton Abbot, Devon, expressed her disgust at the treatment meted out to her mother. 

Mrs Gilbert’s youngest daughter, Joanna, also expressed how losing her mother so suddenly had torn her life apart: "If my mum had received the adequate care she deserved she’d still be with us,” she said.

"It breaks my heart to have lost her so unnecessarily.  I hope this never happens to anyone else."

Lisa's family are also encouraging people who would like more information on deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism to visit www.thrombosis-charity.org.uk.

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