Grieving mother hits out at hospital consultant who blamed misdiagnosis of her dying daughter on being too busy
- Doctors failed to spot blood clot on 44-year-old Jayne Hughes’s lungs
- She died at her Gloucestershire home after going to A&E following fall
- Was breathless with high blood pressure and a low oxygen saturation
- Sent home with painkillers despite her symptoms of pulmonary embolism
A grieving mother today criticised a hospital consultant who misdiagnosed her dying daughter and then sent a grovelling apology note – blaming the mistake on being busy.
Jayne Hughes, 44, died at her home in Lydney, Gloucestershire, after doctors failed to spot a blood clot on her lungs when she was taken to Accident & Emergency following a fall downstairs.
Following the tumble she was breathless, had high blood pressure and heart rate and a low oxygen saturation, an inquest at Gloucester Coroner’s Court was told.
Angry: Carol Woodward (left) hit out after the consultant who misdiagnosed her daughter Jayne Hughes (right) sent her an apologetic note claiming she was ‘focused on rapidly assessing and reviewing patients’
But despite her symptoms, which were all indicators of the clot – known as a pulmonary embolism – she was sent home with painkillers after a doctor concentrated on checking for injuries from the fall.
Now, her grieving mother, Carol Woodward, 65, has hit out after the consultant sent an apologetic note claiming she was ‘very busy’ and ‘focused on rapidly assessing and reviewing patients’.
Mrs Woodward said: ‘It was just so cruel. She admitted her mistake and admitted she was busy. It was an insult to her life. The note was an absolute insult. I didn’t want to hear that from her.
‘They had already admitted they were wrong. She wrote in it about how she was sorry, and has been working the last nine months to see it shouldn’t happen again.
‘I was just so shocked, I was gobsmacked. When I opened it I thought it was from a friend writing a card, but it wasn’t at all. I didn’t want that note. It has just made me so angry.’
Mrs Woodward flung the handwritten note across the courtroom towards A&E consultant Delia Parnham-Cope, as she gave evidence at her daughter’s inquest.
Upsetting: Carol Woodward flung the handwritten note (pictured) across the courtroom towards A&E consultant Delia Parnham-Cope, as she gave evidence at her daughter Jayne Hughes’s inquest
Condolences: The back and front covers of the card sent to Mrs Williams by consultant Miss Parnham-Cope
In the card, the consultant said she ‘clearly should have been looking in depth’ and had spent the past nine months reviewing her practice.
She wrote: ‘I saw Miss Hughes as a “trauma patient”. As we were very busy I focused on rapidly assessing and reviewing patients.
‘I can only say sorry’: Consultant Delia Parnham Cope sent an apology note to Mrs Woodward
‘I clearly should have been looking in depth at what had caused your daughter to be unwell and subsequently fallen downstairs.
‘Over the last nine months I have reviewed what happened, had additional training and looked very closely at how I practice, especially when the department is busy.
‘I can only say sorry and work harder to improve my clinical practice in the future.’
Miss Hughes died at her home two days after suffering a dizzy spell and falling down her stairs on December 17 last year.
She was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital where, after tests showed no fractures or heart problems, Miss Parnham-Cope sent her home with painkillers and muscle relaxant drug diazepam.
But she agreed with assistant coroner Katie Skerrett that discharging Miss Hughes was ‘wrong’. Within hours her condition worsened and her mother took her to her local surgery, Severnbank, in Lydney.
She was seen by locum GP Dr Meenakshi Raina – who decided her symptoms were due to her known conditions of anxiety and asthma and sent her home.
The inquest was told practice nurse Lorna Bird Jayne immediately put her on oxygen while she waited to see the GP, where Miss Hughes reportedly told staff she felt ‘like I’m dying’.
Miss Hughes was found dead in bed the next morning. Just months after her death, Miss Parnham-Cope sent a note to Mrs Woodward apologising for her mistakes.
In a hospital investigation into the tragedy, Dr Tom Llewellyn said symptoms were ‘overlooked’ by Miss Parnham-Cope and appropriate treatment was not given.
Death: Jayne Hughes, 44, with Mrs Woodward’s great granddaughter. She died at home in Gloucestershire
He added that she had failed to undertake a thorough and detailed examination, partly due to an increased workload and the absence of a middle grade doctor.
Pathologist Dr Chamia de Cates said Ms Hughes died from bilateral pulmonary embolus caused by a blood clot in a vein of the left calf.
‘It was just so cruel. She admitted her mistake and admitted she was busy. It was an insult to her life’
Coroner Skerrett concluded a narrative verdict, saying: ‘The pulmonary embolus went undiagnosed and the deterioration in her condition went unrecognised’.
But Mrs Woodward blasted the outcome, and said Miss Parnham-Cope should not still be allowed to work.
She said: ‘She has not even been suspended after admitting she did something awful. She admitted she was wrong, why is she still working? It shouldn’t have happened.
‘There was no need for it to happen. I was so angry when she was giving evidence that I through her card back at her.
‘I know I shouldn’t have done but I was so upset to see her there admitting she made a mistake which took my daughter away from me.’
CONSULTANT’S WRITTEN APOLOGY TO GRIEVING CAROL WOODWARD
Dear Mrs Woodward,
I am the consultant who saw your daughter Jayne Hughes in the Emergency Department on the morning of December 17, 2012.
I assessed Miss Hughes, organised investigations and subsequently decided Miss Hughes did not need admission.
Your daughter died two days later. I apologise whole-heartedly that I got your daughter’s diagnosis wrong.
‘I can only say sorry and work harder to improve my clinical practice in the future’
I have spent the last nine months reviewing (with colleagues in the hospital) and how I could have made such a mistake.
Miss Hughes fell and hit her head. She came to the Emergency Department immobilised in a collar with a history of falling.
I saw Miss Hughes as a ‘trauma patient’. As we were very busy I focused on rapidly assessing and reviewing patients.
I saw your daughter, made decisions about her injuries and was reassured as her chest X-ray and shoulder X-ray were normal. I then discharged your daughter.
I clearly should have been looking in depth at what had caused your daughter to be unwell and subsequently fallen downstairs.
Over the last nine months I have reviewed what happened, had additional training and looked very closely at how I practice, especially when the department is busy.
I can only say sorry and work harder to improve my clinical practice in the future.
Miss Delia Parnham-Cope
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