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GP out-of-hours criticised following death in Carmarthen

Posted in: Medical Negligence Negligent Cancer Diagnosis Wrongful & Accidental Death 

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Peter Tyndall, said that the outcome of an investigation in Hywel Dda Health Board’s service at West Wales Hospital revealed “fundamental failings”.  A lack of basic examination being carried out in the hospital resulted in the misdiagnosis of a patient and her later death

Glenda Thomas (67) died as a result of these failures after being encouraged to visit her local out-of-hours GP service – run at the West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen – after she complained about the development of a rash on her left arm and feeling generally unwell.  An investigation into her death uncovered that no record was made of the GP performing any basic assessments, such as blood pressure and temperature readings, and then diagnosed Mrs. Thomas with shingles.  The GP prescribed a common antiviral medication, but the following morning she collapsed at home and was rushed to A&E.  Mrs. Thomas died the following day due to complete organ failure as a result of her untreated sepsis.

£4,000 compensation

Said to kill around 1,800 people a year in Wales, sepsis is the result of the body taking a serious reaction to the presence of bacteria or germs.  Mrs. Thomas had been diagnosed with cancer earlier in the year, and had a condition prone to infection, termed lymphoedema.

The health board has made a £4,000 compensation payment to the husband of Glenda Thomas for the failures that resulted in the death of his wife.  He also received £500 for the failures in complaint treatment.

A statement said: “We fully accept the findings of the report and are in the process of carrying out the ombudsman’s recommendations.

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