Stafford Hospital blamed for death of diabetic patient

Thu, 09 Sep 2010
An inquest jury has ruled that Gillian Astbury, a diabetic patient at Stafford General Hospital died as a result of neglect.

Mrs Astbury, 66 of Hednesford, was admitted to the hospital after a fall in 2007 and required treatment for fractures to her arm and pelvis. Her blood sugar levels were checked and found to be very high but no insulin was administered despite being prescribed by doctors. This resulted in Mrs Astbury falling into a diabetic coma which led to her death.

The ten member panel at the two day hearing returned a verdict of death by neglect. The jury found that the standard of nursing fell short of their professional code of conduct, in addition to systemic failings all of which contributed to Mrs Astbury's death.

Sarah Huntbach from Anthony Collins Solicitors, representing Mrs Astbury's family commented: "The family are devastated by Gill's death. Three and a half years on they are still struggling to come to terms with her death and the horrific way in which she died. The verdict given by the jury was that there clearly was a gross failure to provide Mrs Astbury with basic care . This satisfies the legal definition of neglect.

"The coroner, Mr Haigh, has said that he will be requesting from the Hospital Trust reassurances that risk assessments will be completed as to patient safety during and as a result of any future budgetary constraints.

"Lessons must be learned and actions must be taken to ensure that this situation is not allowed to develop again here in Stafford or within any hospital across the country."

The family will continue to pursue a civil action and a Human Rights Act claim on behalf of Mrs Astbury's Grandson.
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