A FAMILY, who claim they watched their mother die from a treatable medical condition, have launched legal action against Warrington Hospital.
Margaret Ward, aged 68, spent the last few months of her life in agony as she succumbed to an illness in which blood flow is restricted to the bowel.
Son Peter, aged 47, claims her life could have been saved had it not been for a series of serious ‘scandalous’ blunders by doctors.
The mother-of-four suffered dramatic weight loss which her doctors failed to recognise as a symptom of mesenteric ischaemia.
It is claimed that despite presenting with symptoms in June 2012, delays in reaching a diagnosis, performing appropriate tests and miscommunication between medical staff meant her condition was allowed to dramatically deteriorate until she died in November 2012.
Mr Ward, from Runcorn, said: “My mother’s care was nothing short of a scandal.
“The more we find out about what happened the more we find things that went wrong.
“I wish I’d pushed harder to make sure she was being looked after when she was alive but I just assumed the doctors are doing everything they could for my mother.”
The family were so concerned they paid for a private consultant who made a suspected diagnosis of mesenteric ischaemia – something other doctors had ruled out believing she had irritable bowel syndrome.
Father-of-two Mr Ward added: “When my mother died we lost someone who was the centre of the family.
“She was a wife, a mother-of-four and grandmother to 13 – it would have been 14 but she died before she could see the latest grandchild.
“When she died it tore this family apart.
“I think the stress of my father losing his wife of nearly 50 years contributed to him having a serious stroke a few months later with devastating life-changing consequences.”
Coroner Geoffrey Roberts issued a report highlighting concerns he had about the hospital following an inquest in December last year.
He ruled Mrs Ward died of natural causes but pointed to a number of occasions where no single medic was put in charge of Mrs Ward’s care.
Lawyer Jennifer Crompton, of Slater & Gordon, said: “Mrs Ward’s treatment highlights some deeply worrying failures in the systems of care at that hospital.
“A serious breakdown in communication led to significant and eventually fatal delays in Mrs Ward receiving treatment.”
Mel Pickup, hospital chief executive, said: “Although the coroner stated that nothing would have changed the outcome in this case, we have accepted that the care provided to Mrs Ward was not what we would have expected and we have apologised to the family for this.
“We carried out a detailed investigation following Mrs Ward’s death and have made a number of changes in response to the findings of the investigation to further improve the services we provide.
“We have cooperated fully with the recommendations made by the coroner and have shared these with the family.”