‘Missed opportunities’ to treat patient who died after surgery at Yorkshire hospital

The patient died following a hernia operation
The patient died following a hernia operation
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A patient died at a Yorkshire hospital after “missed opportunities” to treat a serious infection which developed following a hernia operation, according to a report.

The case has been declared a serious incident and is being investigated by the NHS trust which runs Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital.

A report to the board of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said the patient died following planned surgery between April and May this year.

It added: “There were issues surrounding delays in recognising patient deterioration and missed opportunities to treat infection (sepsis).”

Sepsis is a rare but serious complication of an infection, which can lead to multiple organ failure if not treated quickly.

It kills more than 50,000 people in the UK – more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined – and six million people worldwide each year.

The trust declined to identify the sex of the patient involved, or where their death happened, because of confidentiality.

The report also revealed that not recognising infection or screening for sepsis as well as a delay in the administration of antibiotics featured in seven of 103 deaths, which were reviewed by the trust, over the same three-month period.

Dr Ron Daniels, chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, a charity trying to end preventable deaths from sepsis, said: “Sepsis affects at least 250,000 people each year in the UK and 52,000 of those lose their lives. But we estimate that better awareness could save 14,000 lives every year.

“Whenever there are signs of infection it’s crucial that healthcare professionals ‘think sepsis’: with every hour that passes before the right antibiotics are administered, risk of death increases. Earlier recognition and treatment can save lives and mean hugely improved outcomes for those affected.”

There has been a number of high-profile deaths from sepsis locally.

Last month Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust offered a “heartfelt apology” to the family of a 72-year-old man who died after doctors at Rotherham hospital failed to check blood test results.

He had developed sepsis after badly burning his leg. A Serious Incident Review identified “a lack of escalation and management of a deteriorating patient” and a “breakdown” in communications which led to test results, which had been requested, not being checked.

A study last month found that sepsis death rates are five times higher in the UK than in the best-performing country in Europe. Analysis of data from 1985 to 2015 showed although fewer people in the UK were dying from sepsis, the improvement was not as rapid as other countries.