A pensioner bled to death in hospital after doctors failed to give her a tablet would could have saved her life.
Sheila Baker, 70, was admitted to The University Hospital of North Staffordshire, with crippling stomach pains.
The great-grandmother was diagnosed with colitis, or inflammation of the bowel, and was given a combination of drugs to treat the condition.
But it has emerged that one tablet, a proton pump inhibitor, which should have been given to Mrs Baker to protect her stomach lining from being attacked by the cocktail of drugs was not given.
As a result, the hospital has conceded the ‘below standard care’, caused Mrs Baker to fall unconscious and die from gastrointestinal bleeding in August 2012.
Mrs Baker’s daughter Barbara Humphreys, 49, was yesterday awarded a five-figure compensation payout from the hospital, after bosses at the trust admitted liability.
It emerged a string of errors resulted in medics giving the pensioner the drugs, including steroid prednisolone, Ibuprofen and aspirin, which in the absence of the PPI tablet, caused the bleeding.
Mrs Humphreys, who works as a care co-ordinator, said: ‘My mum was only 70 and she died unnecessarily. It was never about money, I wanted to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
‘At the time I thought the hospital was doing everything they could to help mum, but after she died I had a gut feeling that something wasn’t quite how it should be, and I was right.
‘The death certificate said she died from internal bleeding and I later discovered she should have been given a PPI which would have stopped this.
‘My mum lost her life unnecessarily. I just wanted to get justice for my mum and now I’ve got that.
‘My mum was a proud woman. She never wanted a fuss.
‘Before she became ill she was very independent, she would come shopping with us and visit all the time.
‘But after she collapsed the first time she was in excruciating pain and that never went away until the day she died.
‘We were so close and she died all of a sudden. My sister Lynn lives in America and she never had chance to say goodbye. She will never have any closure.’
Mrs Barker, from Stoke-on-Trent, in Staffordshire, was taken to hospital in June 2012 complaining of stomach pains and was initially sent home with painkillers.
Two weeks later she was re-admitted to hospital after collapsing at home and doctors diagnosed colitis.
After being given the cocktail of drugs to treat her condition blood tests revealed a significant drop in her haemoglobin levels which should have indicated internal bleeding.
Mrs Humphreys, who has two children, Zoe, 24, and son Callum, 10, added: ‘I later found out that my mum’s haemoglobin level dropped by a large margin but this was never picked up by the medical staff.
‘The drop should have indicated there was a problem and is a key symptom of internal bleeding.
‘If the doctors had been doing their job they would have realised she was in trouble and might have been able to do something about it.
‘Instead, my mum, who just weeks earlier had been fit, healthy and independent, was left to bleed to death in a hospital bed.’
The University Hospital of North Staffordshire have issued an apology and admitted the pensioner should have been prescribed a PPI.
Chief executive Mark Hackett said: ‘I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the family of Mrs Barker.
‘It is clear some aspects of the care received by Mrs Barker in 2012 fell below the standard of care she was reasonably entitled to expect.
‘I wish to offer my profound apologies for the care Mrs Barker received.’
Monica Bhakri, of West Midlands Solicitors, who represented Mrs Barker’s family, said: ‘No amount of compensation is ever going to bring Mrs Barker back, but the principle is that the hospital has admitted failings in the standard of care which means Barbara can now move forward with her life.’