Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
Young woman died after misdiagnosis.
A woman care worker died after doctors initially failed to spot she had a stomach ulcer, an inquest has heard.
Tessa Harker, 21, from Wigton, Cumbria, died from a heart attack after suffering sepsis as a result of a perforated ulcer.
She complained of excruciating stomach pain, but doctors thought she had severe pancreatitis.
The inquest in Cockermouth was told that Ms Harker, a care worker, saw five different doctors at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary during three days in March 2016.
After being seen by consultant, Frank Hinson, on March 4, Miss Harker, who worked at a Carlisle care home, was diagnosed with a “non-specific abdominal pain.”
When a CT scan was taken - the day before she died - it revealed a 7cm square hole in her stomach where an ulcer had burst.
Assistant coroner, Dr Nicholas Shaw, recorded a verdict of death by natural causes exacerbated by delays in treatment. He said that staff tending to her should have tried to identify the problem earlier.
He said: “I feel that more should have been done to establish a diagnosis before the weekend. I am of the opinion, having read the statement, that had Tessa been involved in an attempt to find a firm diagnosis, she would have had a better chance of coming through this than she did. A more vigorous investigation should have been undertaken.”
An internal review carried out by the trust found warning signs that Ms Harker's condition was deteriorating were missed.
Following the ruling, trust chief executive, Stephen Eames, said: "I wish to extend my sincere apologies and deepest sympathy to Tessa Harker’s family. It has been recognised through our investigations and the inquest that the care provided to Tessa fell short of expectations.
"As a direct result, lessons have been learned and a number of actions have been put in place that we believe will further improve patient safety at the trust."