London

Faulty machine delayed Cheryl Cope blood poisoning diagnosis

Whittington Hospital. Image copyright PA
Image caption Cheryl Cope died 24 hours after being admitted to Whittington Hospital.

A woman from north London died in hospital because staff failed to identify she had blood poisoning quickly enough, an inquest has ruled.

Cheryl Cope, 51, from Haringey had suffered flu-like symptoms for 10 days before she was admitted to the Whittington Hospital.

Her inquest heard she should have been diagnosed as having sepsis when she was admitted at 07.40 GMT on 27 February.

She died 24 hours after being admitted to hospital.

Blood poisoning or sepsis is a potentially life threatening condition that can be easily treated with antibiotics quickly but is often missed.

Coroner Jacqueline Devonish said that while the cause of death was natural, Mrs Cope was not given the "best chance" of survival.

She added it was "not possible to say whether Mrs Cope would have survived if treated promptly".

The inquest at Poplar Coroner's Court heard the hospital was overcrowded that day. It had space for 280 patients, but there were 320 patients in the hospital at the time.

Mrs Cope, an interior designer, was seen by a nurse who tried to carry out observation tests but could not complete them because of a malfunctioning blood pressure monitor.

She took Mrs Cope to the urgent care centre where she asked a colleague to repeat the tests but this took longer than she had hoped because staff there also struggled to get a blood pressure reading.

The hospital admitted Mrs Cope should have been treated earlier than she was.

Ms Devonish said she would not be making recommendations to the hospital because it had already drafted a new policy to diagnose sepsis following Mrs Cope's death.