Life of Barnsley woman, 23, could have been saved, inquest hears

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An aspiring Barnsley paramedic who died of sepsis at the age of 23, should have been given antibiotics when she first attended an out-of-hours clinic, an inquest heard.

Jessica Holbrook died at her grandmother’s house five days after visiting a doctor's surgery for an out-of-hours appointment, where she displayed flu-type symptoms including a cold, a sore throat and a tickly cough.

Jessica Holbrook

Jessica Holbrook

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Giving evidence an inquest into her death, Dr Sudhakar Krishnasamy, from the surgery Jessica attended, said she should have been given potentially life-saving antibiotics on her first visit on December 9, 2017. 

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Jessica was only provided with medication when she sought medical help again four days later, but it was too late and she died the following day, the inquest heard. 

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In a statement read out in court, Jessica's grandmother Barbara Robinson said she 'still has questions' and wishes her 'beautiful' granddaughter, who was from Brierley, South Yorkshire, had been 'taken seriously'.

Dr Krishnasamy told the inquest it is not common to give antibiotics to someone displaying flu-like symptoms on their first visit. 

But the court heard Jessica was a special case because she was born without a pituitary gland, making her susceptible to infection. 

Patricia Cusworth, the nurse practitioner who saw Jessica on both visits, also gave evidence and admitted she ‘didn't give it it (Jessica's missing pituitary gland) the consideration that it required’. 

When asked about the treatment Jessica was given on December 9, Dr Krishnasamy said: "My advice would have been to give antibiotics. 

"That's what I would have done." 

Dr Krishnasamy explained that, although he is a GP partner at the out-of-hours surgery, called i-Heart Barnsley, he never treated Jessica, who was a football mad Barnsley FC season ticket holder.

She was treated on both occasions by Mrs Cusworth, who initially said she was reluctant to give antibiotics to someone presenting with a 'minor illness'. 

When Jessica returned on December 13 with deteriorating symptoms, Mrs Cusworth, a nurse of 40 years, diagnosed bacterial tonsillitis and prescribed a 10 day course of antibiotics.

When asked why she did not do that on December 9, she told Sheffield Coroners' Court: "I have asked myself that question several times and my honest answer is she was presenting with a minor illness and it had only just started. 

"I felt I could deal with it." 

Mrs Cusworth also admitted it would have been 'prudent' to consult with a GP before treating Jessica. 

Giving evidence, she said: "I did lack training and information, that's evident." 

After Jessica's death Mrs Cusworth was suspended from her position and is currently off work on sick leave. 

An investigation into the incident is being carried out by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The court heard how Jessica worked for Yorkshire Ambulance Service, organising routine ambulance appointments. 

She had also started the process of becoming a paramedic.

She was staying at the home of her grandmother, Barbara Robinson, when she died and was treated by friends from work, who battled to save her life.

Her grandmother said: "She stayed over with me and looked unwell. She was complaining of a really bad sore throat and rang in sick to work, which was not like Jessica. 

"In the morning she was still unwell and I told her mum to ring for an ambulance. We were panicking at this point. 

"The paramedics tried everything they could but sadly Jessica died. She was treated by her friends from work. 

"This was the hardest day of my life." 

Mrs Robinson added: "As a family we still have a number of questions. 

"I always look back and wish that the nurse had told me to look out for symptoms or told me to go back. 

"I put my faith and trust in the medical professionals and wish they had taken her seriously. 

"I cannot help but feel they did not do enough to keep her safe and help her through this." 

The inquest continues.