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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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Family slams Furness General Hospital care of mum

THE family of a woman who died after taking drugs for arthritis say she would still be alive today if she had been given better care at Furness General Hospital.

An inquest in Barrow on Tuesday heard Gloria Calldine, 72, died on August 15 from pneumonia she contracted after being prescribed drugs that suppressed her immune system. Mrs Calldine, of Riverside Gardens, Barrow, received treatment at FGH both for rheumatic arthritis and temporal arteritis, an inflammation of blood vessels in the head.

She was taking two different types of immunosuppressants, which lessened her pain but made her more susceptible to infection.

Mrs Calldine was initially seen by Dr William Mitchell, a consultant rheumatologist. He referred her to consultant ophthalmic surgeon Benjamin Moate, who treated her for the temporal arteritis.

Due to the risks associated with the drugs they prescribed, she was having regular appointments with Dr Abha Gupta, at Risedale Surgery.

In July Mrs Calldine complained to Dr Gupta she was having difficulty breathing, but Dr Gupta told the inquest tests and an x-ray did not initially raise any alarm and it was not until July 20 tests revealed Mrs Calldine was having problems taking in the oxygen she needed. She was admitted to FGH where she died the next month. Mrs Calldine’s husband Michael, 74, told the inquest his wife’s medication should have been stopped as soon as she was having trouble breathing.

The inquest heard problems with the FGH appointments system meant Mrs Calldine did not have the number of appointments with Dr Mitchell and Mr Moate she should have.

As Dr Mitchell had gone on holiday Mr Moate was left as the only consultant caring for Mrs Calldine.

Her daughter Jennifer Lewis, 46, from Lindale, said “high levels of absenteeism and holidays” in the rheumatology department meant her mum was left in the care of an eye specialist, who was not an expert in her condition.

Mrs Lewis added: “Had this catalogue of errors not occurred, we believe she would still be alive today.”

South and East Cumbria coroner Mr Ian Smith recorded a narrative verdict that Mrs Calldine died from pneumonia after taking the medication. He said Mrs Calldine should have had more appointments with the two consultants and not been left under the sole care of Mr Moate.

“Everybody did their best and nobody set out to do any harm, it’s the organisation that’s the problem,” he said.

Have your say

My father Dr. William Mitchell has been dedicated to the care of his patients for over 35 yrs.He lives for his family and patients, i can assure the family of the deceased that he rarely takes holidays and is affected by any loss of life in a manner which befits a medical professional of his experience, my heartfelt condolences to the Calldine family,I share the belief that the issues were with the FGH appointments protocol.

Posted by David Mitchell on 12 August 2013 at 02:14

It really is sad hearing about people who have lost loved ones, especially while being cared for in hospitals. We all get upset because we believe hospitals should cure illnesses and we are quick to lay blame when its not often justified - this is not to say hospitals are not totally blameless, as there has been cases where patients have been starved of medications as well as nutrients, supposedly there was nothing more that could done for them !

I'm on a prescribed drug from my GP at the moment but before going on it I asked him first about the possible side effects and what could be done to counteract these. His answers were more or less:. ."its a necessary evil, its either you take it or go without". . .I'm lucky I got a computer to help me in my own research. Believe me there are thousands of people out there who have experienced side-effects of various drugs and have kindly posted their experiences on the internet. So, find out more before going on prescription drugs. Often a complete change of diet can greatly help as I've experienced - cutting down on salt, sugar and fatty foods - roast, bake or boil your food rather than fry. Watch your weight and do regular exercises. Good luck !!

Posted by matt on 21 January 2013 at 12:25

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