Trust Admits Failure To Provide ‘Lifesaving Treatment’ To Nursery Nurse

Grandmother Died Weeks After Successful Cancer Surgery


Lawyers representing the family of a nursery nurse who died after medical staff failed to treat an infection causing blood poisoning just weeks after she underwent successful cancer surgery have called for the trust responsible to show steps have been taken to prevent future tragedies.

After suffering for a month with stomach pain, vomiting and nausea, mum of four and grandmother of five Gerry Hutchinson , 69, from Thorne in  Doncaster, was admitted to Doncaster Royal Infirmary on 14th January 2010 when she and her family received the devastating news that she had a bowel cancer.

Despite undergoing a successful operation to remove the cancer, her condition deteriorated and by January 24th blood tests showed something was wrong. Doctors suspected that she was suffering from a bowel leak and ordered a CT scan, but it proved inconclusive and surgery was needed that day to identify the problem.

However, no action was taken and Gerry was admitted to intensive care where she died on 7th February 2010 from sepsis – or blood poisoning – caused by an infection from her bowel.

Specialist medical lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have helped the family secure a five figure out of court settlement for the family, from Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, after the Trust admitted that surgery on 24th January 2010 would have saved Gerry’s life.

Ian Murray, an expert in medical law at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office who represents the family, said: “Gerry’s family have naturally been utterly devastated by her death. In the last weeks of her life, they stood by helplessly watching her suffer, putting their trust in medical staff who missed a crucial chance to save Gerry’s life”.

“Although her family are relieved that the Trust has since admitted its mistakes and have apologised, they are furious that she was left to suffer as she did and that with proper care Gerry could still be here today.

“We firmly support their call to the Trust to provide assurances that lessons have since been learned from tragedy in the hope that no other family will have to suffer such a devastating avoidable loss.

Commenting on her family’s ordeal, Gerry’s husband, Bob, said: “Losing my wife has been absolutely devastating, she was such an amazing person, she loved her job as a nursery nurse and the kids adored her as did her grandchildren who doted on her - they just loved spending time together. 

“Gerry was such a huge part of our lives and to watch her suffer in the final weeks of her life was torturous – to know steps could have been taken to save her is difficult to live with.

“Although nothing can make up for what we have lost I sincerely hope that our case encourages the Trust to implement changes in their care of patients to prevent anyone else from suffering the hell we continue to go through.  We need to know that other patients suffering from sepsis won’t suffer needlessly, as Gerry did.”

Since Gerry’s death, her family have been working closely with The UK Sepsis Trust to raise awareness of the devastating effect sepsis can have.