Death due to overcrowded hospital
Samantha Brousas, aged 49, died from sepsis after waiting almost three hours in an ambulance outside Wrexham Maelor Hospital, an inquest has heard.
Ms Brousas arrived at the hospital during the early hours of 21 February 2018, but A&E was already full. The paramedic had assessed her at home as “high risk and critically ill” after she had developed sepsis following a common cold.
Sepsis diagnosis not acted upon
Ms Brousas’ daughter met her mother in the ambulance. She told the inquest that the paramedics said they could not give Ms Brousas the drugs she required, as she needed to be in a hospital. It is common practice to treat sepsis with antibiotics within an hour. She also said that “no-one from the hospital came out to see her in the ambulance.” Paramedics have since said that they were “shocked” that Ms Brousas was not admitted sooner.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said that the overcrowded department was “unsafe”; 46 additional beds have been opened throughout the hospital, whilst two other major hospitals with large A&E departments were also under extreme pressure.
The inquest heard that Wrexham Maelor Hospital’s ‘risk score’ suggested that emergency staff would be unable to perform routine observations reliably due to the volume of patients.
Prompt antibiotic treatment could have saved a life
An independent expert opinion, given to the inquest, suggested that Ms Brousas would “probably have survived” if she had been admitted to the hospital that morning and treated swiftly with antibiotics. But because she was not admitted until midday, she was unlikely to have survived “whatever the intervention.” She died two days later due to sepsis.
Coroner, Joanne Lees, said an internal investigation by the health board described a “system in crisis.”
Inez Brown of Medical Accident Group said: “It is deeply saddening and concerning that antibiotics are not being administered as quickly as needed when a patient has sepsis, despite raised sepsis awareness. A&E departments are frequently overcrowded and measures should be implemented in order to prevent avoidable deaths.”
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