South Scotland

NHS Dumfries and Galloway apology over blood poisoning death

Galloway Community Hospital Image copyright Google

A health board has apologised after it missed early signs of blood poisoning in a woman who collapsed and died a day after being seen in hospital.

The complaint against NHS Dumfries and Galloway was taken to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

The case concerned a woman who went to the Galloway Community Hospital in Stranraer with abdominal pains.

She was diagnosed with a urine infection and given antibiotics but collapsed the following day.

The SPSO heard the patient - named only as Mrs A - had gone to the Dumfries and Galloway hospital with a fast heart rate and high temperature.

She was subsequently given antibiotics and discharged.

However, the next day she was accompanying a friend to a hospital outside the region when she developed sepsis originating in her gall bladder and died despite resuscitation attempts.

The SPSO said NHS Dumfries and Galloway had accepted that early signs of sepsis had been missed and it had apologised.

Complaint upheld

However, the woman's partner, Mr C, said he wanted further assurances that steps had been taken to avoid similar mistakes in future.

"We took independent advice from a medical adviser, who considered Mrs A's initial diagnosis when she attended A&E to be unreasonable based on her symptoms at the time," the SPSO said.

"We also found Mrs A's elevated heart rate and temperature to be of sufficient concern that further investigation should have been warranted and admission to hospital considered.

"As such, we upheld the complaint."

The ombudsman said it did not consider any recommendations were required at the hospital due to procedural changes made and training given in the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.

However, it did recommend that the doctor who assessed Mrs A should discuss the treatment provided at an annual appraisal.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway confirmed it had apologised over the case.

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