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An inquest touching upon the death of a patient who died from sepsis has concluded with the coroner finding that the omissions of an NHS trust “shortened [the patient’s] life and more than minimally contributed to her death”.

The family of the deceased instructed Emma White at SJP Law, who in turn instructed James Reckitt to represent the family at the inquest.  The inquest had been ongoing since April 2021 due to a series of adjournments for further expert medical evidence, in what was described by the coroner as a “truly complicated” case.  The coroner heard detailed evidence from three expert witnesses in the fields of orthopaedics, radiology and microbiology before delivering her findings and conclusion.

The coroner reached a short form conclusion of “natural causes” on the basis that the infection that caused death had arisen naturally, but accepted the family’s invitation to combine this with a narrative conclusion in order to fully reflect the circumstances of the death.

The coroner concluded that there was an omission on the part of the clinical team to identify the deterioration of the patient’s infection when interpreting a CT scan.  There was a further omission in that the clinical team failed to convene a multidisciplinary team meeting to discuss the patient and her treatment options.  As a result, the clinical team failed to take any steps to treat the patient’s infection by way of abscess drainage or antibiotics.  The coroner’s narrative conclusion went on to say that if this treatment had provided, on the balance of probabilities the patient’s condition would not have deteriorated and her life would have been prolonged.

James is an active member of chambers’ personal injury and clinical negligence team and regularly represents and advises clients in clinical negligence claims proceeding on, and destined for, the multi-track.”

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