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Mid Staffordshire NHS trust fined after death of diabetic patient

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has admitted to health and safety failings that caused the death of a diabetic patient. The trust has been fined £200,000 for failing to provide 66-year-old Gillian Astbury with her insulin, resulting in her death in April 2007. A judge at Stafford Crown Court said that Mrs Astbury’s death could easily have been prevented had she received the correct care.

In 2010 an inquest found that there had been a failure to provide basic care to Mrs Astbury when she was admitted to the hospital for fractures to her arm and pelvis. The two nurses treating Mrs Astbury, Ann King and Jeanette Coulson, both failed to recognise her high blood sugar level. Mrs Astbury fell into a diabetic coma soon after and later died.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council panel found them both guilty of misconduct last year. Ms King was struck off the nursing register and Ms Coulson was cautioned as a result. 

“Wholly avoidable”

The Judge, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, said that the responsibility for the failures that resulted in Mrs Astbury’s death lay with the trust’s senior managers. The trust has further been criticised by a public inquiry for the “routine” neglect of patients between 2005 and 2009.

He said: “This was a wholly avoidable and tragic death of a vulnerable patient who was admitted to hospital for care but died because of the lack of it”.

The Health and Safety Executive confirmed it was investigating two more deaths at the hospital – those of Ivy Bunn, who died in 2008, and Edith Bourne, who died in July 2013.

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