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Grandmother, 59, died from sepsis after hospital staff 'failed to diagnose condition for 12 hours'

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A grandmother died of sepsis after doctors reportedly delayed treating the deadly condition for 12 hours while arguing over which ward to treat her.

Tina Hughes, 59, mother of three, began feeling unwell last August, vomiting for days, feeling confused and unable to urinate.

After the tell-tale signs of the life-threatening illness developed, the caregiver was rushed to the emergency room on September 8 last year.

But despite paramedics signaling to staff that they suspected sepsis, it was not mentioned in her initial assessment at Sandwell General Hospital, West Bromwich.

A second review six hours later also made no mention of sepsis, with medics disagreeing on whether to treat her in a surgical ward or a high-dependency ward.

The grandmother of five was eventually transferred to the acute medical ward at 3 a.m. the next morning, where sepsis — in which the body attacks itself in response to an infection — was finally diagnosed.

But Mrs Hughes, from Tipton, West Midlands, continued to deteriorate and was admitted to intensive care four hours later and put on a ventilator.

She died the next morning on September 10.

Mother of three Tina Hughes (pictured), 59, was rushed to the emergency room after developing tell-tale signs of the life-threatening illness on September 8 last year

Mother of three Tina Hughes (pictured), 59, was rushed to the emergency room after developing tell-tale signs of the life-threatening illness on September 8 last year

Ms Hughes's heartbroken family (pictured) now warns of the dangers of the condition after ordering medical negligence lawyers to investigate her case

Ms Hughes's heartbroken family (pictured) now warns of the dangers of the condition after ordering medical negligence lawyers to investigate her case

Ms Hughes’s heartbroken family (pictured) now warns of the dangers of the condition after ordering medical negligence lawyers to investigate her case

A serious incident investigation report by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has since found that there was ‘a delay in the explicit recognition of sepsis’. It too found a disagreement over the level of care Ms Hughes needed and where she should be transferred from the emergency room.

The NHS report made a number of recommendations, including training for junior doctors on sepsis.

If there is disagreement about where a patient should be treated and the level of care they will require, it should be escalated to a counselor.

Ms Hughes’s heartbroken family is now warning of the dangers of the condition, after they ordered Irwin Mitchell’s medical negligence lawyers to investigate the investigation. whether the trust could have done more to diagnose and treat her sepsis.

Her daughter, Yvette Whitehouse, 37, said: ‘Mum was an absolutely wonderful mother and grandmother.

Her life revolved around her family. She was the heartbeat of our family and would do anything for us.

‘She always saw the best in people and helped others less fortunate than herself. Mama brought out the best in people and had a heart of gold.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get over what happened and that life without my mom will never be the same for all of us.

While the past year and trying to come to terms with what happened has taken its toll on all of us, it also feels like the anniversary of Mom’s death is a time to share her story to help others.

“We hadn’t heard much about sepsis before Mom’s death. But we now know how dangerous it can be.

“We hope that by speaking out we can make others aware of the symptoms of sepsis and the importance of early detection and treatment.”

Despite paramedics signaling to staff that they suspected sepsis, this was not mentioned on the initial assessment of Ms Hughes (pictured) at Sandwell General Hospital, West Bromwich

Despite paramedics signaling to staff that they suspected sepsis, this was not mentioned on the initial assessment of Ms Hughes (pictured) at Sandwell General Hospital, West Bromwich

Despite paramedics signaling to staff that they suspected sepsis, this was not mentioned on the initial assessment of Ms Hughes (pictured) at Sandwell General Hospital, West Bromwich

An investigation revealed a delay in treating Ms Hughes' sepsis (pictured) and a disagreement over the level of care she needed and where she should be transferred from the emergency room.

An investigation revealed a delay in treating Ms Hughes' sepsis (pictured) and a disagreement over the level of care she needed and where she should be transferred from the emergency room.

An investigation revealed a delay in treating Ms Hughes’ sepsis (pictured) and a disagreement over the level of care she needed and where she should be transferred from the emergency room.

Jade Elliott-Archer, the specialist medical negligence attorney representing Yvette, said: “Tina was a beloved partner, mother and grandmother who was adored by her family.

“The past year and coping with her death have been incredibly difficult for the entire family.

“Understandably, they have some concerns about the events leading up to Tina’s death.

“The Trust’s own research report has identified areas of care that Tina has received.

“We are now investigating these further to give the family all the answers they deserve.

“Unfortunately, through our work, we see the devastating impact that sepsis can have. Tina’s family hopes that by sharing their story they can help others by being aware of the symptoms.

“While incredibly dangerous sepsis can be treated with early detection and treatment.”

Ms. Hughes also leaves behind sons Philip and Ryann Hughes, 42 and 27, and grandchildren Jack, 19, Hollie, 17, 15-year-old Harry, as well as Louie, 13, and 11-year-old Joe.

An inquest that will investigate more circumstances surrounding Ms Hughes’ death will take place at a later date.

A spokesperson for the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust told MailOnline: ‘Our deepest condolences go out to Tina’s family and friends and we are working with the coroner to provide all the information needed to conduct the investigation and will in due course time to wait for the coroner’s finding. Class.’