Lack of antibiotics ‘must have' contributed to man's death

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford Royal Infirmary Bradford Royal Infirmary

A man who died at Bradford Royal Infirmary from a killer bug should have been given anti-biotics earlier, an inquest heard.

Failure to get them sooner “must have” contributed to 51-year-old Stephen Smith’s death from multi-organ failure and toxic shock, the hearing in Bradford was told It also emerged that Mr Smith, who lived in Orchard Grove, Greengates, had previously undergone a double transplant and was more susceptible to infections as a result.

His death on December 5, 2012, triggered a ‘serious untoward incident investigation’ by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

At first, it was thought the warehouse worker had got gastroenteritis from eating a sandwich, but routine tests at A&E pointed to sepsis making him sick and leaving him in agony.

Doctors there had actively discussed giving him antibiotics, but the infection-fighting drugs were not prescribed until he got to the ICU the next day where staff had to check his records to see that it was true, the inquest heard.

Blood test results received after his death showed he actually had a devastating streptococcal septicemia infection.

BRI consultant Paul Cramp said, in his view, Mr Smith, who was more vulnerable than most to infections because of his transplant history, would not have survived it anyway.

But he said doctors could have tried to improve his condition sooner, and that the failure to give him antibiotics earlier “must have” contributed to his death.

He also said not getting him to ICU quicker, rather than going on to the medical assessment ward after A&E, may have contributed to the timing of his death because they could have monitored him “a bit more accurately.”

Mr Smith’s wife Anona said she had been “absolutely mad” that doctors had not given him anti-biotics quicker and told how she got a phone call from the hospital ward staff at about 6am the day after he was admitted saying her husband was now dehydrated, having trouble breathing, getting agitated and asking for her.

By the time Mrs Smith and his mother arrived at the hospital, he had been sedated and been put on life-support. They never got to see him conscious again.

Mr Smith was being taken from ICU for a CT scan when he had two cardiac arrests and died.

The inquest continues today.

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