Five-year delay for Cheddleton pensioner's inquest following University Hospital of North Staffordshire death
THE family of a grandmother will find out this week if a hospital was to blame for their loved-ones' death – after enduring a five-year wait for her inquest.
Frances Machin, aged 67, of Cheddleton, died at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in July 2007.
But delays have meant Mrs Machin's inquest was not held until yesterday.
Now assistant deputy coroner Margaret Jones has delayed delivering her verdict until Friday morning.
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Mrs Machin died following a bowel operation just five days after being admitted with abdominal pain.
Relatives have claimed that hospital staff failed to act quickly enough when Mrs Machin was admitted on Thursday, July 5, 2007 to leave the former occupational therapist in agony for days.
The inquest heard Mrs Machin had a history of medical problems, including kidney disease and bowel problems.
She had been treated for a bowel complaint at the hospital 12 months before her death.
But daughter Julie Machin, of Hanford, said the level of pain experienced by her mother was far higher than the last time she was admitted with bowel problems. Mrs Machin, who is a nurse, said: "The hospital's plan was to just observe her but the following day I went in to see my mum and she looked ghastly and it was obvious she had deteriorated."
The concerned family asked for her mattress to be replaced because of her discomfort and also called for a CT scan – a procedure which medics were not planning until the Sunday.
Her condition worsened on the Sunday and Mrs Machin was admitted to the intensive care unit for resuscitation where medics believed she was suffering from pneumonia.
Mrs Machin added: "They seemed more interested in the idea of a chest infection rather than the real problem of what was causing the abdominal pain."
Later that day she underwent an operation where surgeons discovered part of her bowel had died.
Despite surviving the surgery, Mrs Machin died on the Monday morning.
Her relatives say she should have undergone a procedure far earlier to give her a better chance of surviving.
The family has complained to the Healthcare Commission after criticising the records kept by medical staff.
Hospital surgeon Richard Morgan, who was in charge of Mrs Machin's case following her initial admission, but did not carry out the operation, said it was standard practice to monitor patients before deciding on surgery.
Mr Morgan told the inquest this method allows bowel problems to settle and in Mrs Machin's case a rush to operate could have proved fatal due to her overall condition.
A post-mortem examination revealed Mrs Machin had also suffered multi-organ failure.
Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Machin's other daughter Tracy Walker, a biomedical scientist, of Cheddleton, said: "We wanted this inquest to stop this happening to other people."
Husband Peter Walker, who works as a nurse, said: "They just watched her die. It was a slow and painful death."