The family of a cancer patient who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest in hospital and lay dead for SIX HOURS before anybody realised have received a pay-out from the NHS.
Hospital bosses have admitted a catalogue of blunders which meant Sharon Ignatowics died following delays in treatment at the age of 54.
The mum-of-three was diagnosed with the blood cancer multiple myeloma in 2009.
She was admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary in February 2013 suffering from pneumonia and was discharged the following month.
But just two days later on March 31 Mrs Ignatowics had to be re-admitted after becoming unwell at her home in Braunstone, Leicester.
She was forced to wait for a bed, and then had to wait a further two hours and 45 minutes to be seen, due to errors in the medical admission process.
There were further delays in taking blood samples and no action was taken when test results showed she had hyperkalaemia, meaning she had high levels of potassium in her blood.
Tragically, she was found dead at 5.30am on April 2, 2013 after suffering a cardiac arrest having been left on her own for six hours before nurses noticed. Mrs Ignatowics’ family have been fighting a three-year battle for justice since her death and have now received an undisclosed out-of-court compensation settlement.
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust admitted there were “missed opportunities” that could have extended her life or allowed her to die surrounded by her family.
Yesterday (Wed) her daughter Natalie Spencer, 37, from Leicester, said: “I feel disgusted and let down because my mother was left on her own to die.”
“When she was diagnosed with cancer we spoke at length about how she didn’t want to die alone, wanted her family around her and to be at home if possible.”
“It wasn’t the cancer which caused her death, it was the neglect she faced at the infirmary.”
“As a family we lost the time to say goodbye and to be with her when she needed us most.”
“Not only was my mother ignored by healthcare professionals when she returned to the hospital, we have also been ignored by the Trust since she passed away.”
“They have been nothing but unhelpful with trying to get to the bottom of what happened.”
Ms Spencer had been told her mother had died an hour before she arrived – but it transpired she had been dead for six hours before anyone realised.
She said: “This is unforgivable. I am not sure I will ever come to terms with it.”
“I don’t think this is something you ever ‘get over’ and it has caused a huge amount of emotional stress for me and my whole family.”
“The lack of resolve and remorse that we’ve experienced from Leicester Royal Infirmary is unacceptable and I’ll never be able to forgive them for how my mother was treated in her final moments.”
Mrs Ignatowics worked as a support worker for Fosse Healthcare and leaves behind three children Natalie, Todd, 28, and Sonny, 18.
Maryam Gaffar, a solicitor at Lime Personal Injury, who represented the family, said: “The neglect and delays in treatment, that ultimately lead to Mrs Ignatowics’ death, meant that she may as well have been in hospital on her own, or not bothered to go in at all.”
“There was no excuse for her not to have been seen more quickly.”
“She was denied the opportunity to have treatment which not only could have prolonged her life, but given her family the opportunity to say their goodbyes.”
Medical director Andrew Furlong, from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said: “We would like to offer our sincere apologies to the family of Mrs Ignatowics for their loss and the distress that this process has caused.”
“Mrs Ignatowics was in the end stages of her chronic malignant cancer and we had exhausted all treatment options available.”
“However, when she was admitted in April 2013 we missed opportunities that would have allowed Mrs Ignatowics treatment which may have extended her life, or allowed her to die surrounded by her family.”
“For that we remain truly sorry.”