Family of Sheffield woman who died from hospital neglect warns patients

Wake Smith Solicitors 22 June 2023

The family of a woman who died after a Sheffield hospital failed to regularly replace essential ureteric stents is urging other patients to chase replacement appointments and get checked out.

64-year-old retired chef Susan Bamford from Chapeltown died after developing multi organ failure due to sepsis on December 6, 2021 at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, four days after being admitted due to feeling unwell.

An inquest hearing at Sheffield Medico Legal Centre on 14 March this year headed by Assistant Coroner Steve Eccleston concluded that Susan had died as a result of the hospital’s neglect.

Hoyland-born Susan had received bilateral antegrade ureteric stents, which are stents placed through the kidney and down to the ureter (the tube which passes between the kidneys and the bladder) to allow urine to drain in the normal way, in February 2018 under the care of the urology team at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

On December 3 2021, Susan was admitted to the Northern General Hospital with shortness of breath, renal impairment and general deterioration and a CT scan showed abnormal enlargement of the kidney which the urology team were asked to review.

The next day, the on-call speciality registrar reviewed Susan and her medical records on the ward and noted she had stents from February 2018 that had not been changed for four years, when normal practice is to change this type of stent every 6-12 months.

Susan continued to deteriorate and died on December 6, 2021 when her case was referred to the HM Coroner’s office due to the missed stent change, post insertion.

Susan’s family has now asked Wake Smith Solicitors’ clinical negligence team to take on the case and is urging other patients with similar stents to chase replacement appointments.

Susan’s daughter Nicole Critcher said: “We are just wanting to raise awareness of what happened to my mum because we do not want it to happen to anyone else. There will be people out there who may have had this type of stent and have not had them replaced which was unfortunately fatal in my mum’s case.”

Scott Haslam, Director in the clinical negligence team at Wake Smith Solicitors, said: “The Coroner found that Susan died as a result of neglect by the hospital. She didn’t have her stents replaced for a period of nearly four years, when usually they would be changed every 6 months to a year.

“The coroner found areas of concern and we are now liaising with Susan’s family to explore different legal options with the aim of trying to ensure this terrible circumstance does not happen again.”

Eccleston, sitting in the HM Coroner's area for South Yorkshire West, concluded that Susan died from an infection which was caused by a failure by the hospital to identify the need for either replacement or removal of stents after placement in February 2018, amounting to neglect.

During the Inquest into Susan’s death, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals admitted a serious incident had taken place and gave assurances to the Bamford family that a full investigation has taken place and actions have been taken to prevent a similar incident happening again.

Susan’s family are concerned that the issue may not be limited to just one NHS Trust.  Wake Smith has already been retained by another family whose mother died at a different NHS Trust.

To discuss our clinical negligence services call Scott Haslam on 0114 224 2127

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