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Hospital apologises after OAP death

PUBLISHED: 19:00 05 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:36 03 March 2010

MOLLY Hammond devoted her life to her family and the service of others.

Today her distraught daughter Mary said she is considering suing Ipswich Hospital after her mum died.

MOLLY Hammond devoted her life to her family and the service of others.

Today her distraught daughter Mary said she is considering suing Ipswich Hospital after her mum died.

She alleges her 75-year-old mother's deep vein thrombosis which lead to her death was not diagnosed by doctors.

Former councillor Molly Hammond died suddenly in Ipswich Hospital on July 24 but was being treated for a condition called cellulitis.

Mary Hammond claim the DVT was not picked up by staff despite a recommendation from a GP that a scan of her leg should be carried out on admission.

Today Ipswich Hospital defended itself and while it apologised to Mary Hammond, stated that a scan may have helped with diagnosis but may not have saved her life.

Molly Hammond, a Conservative councillor in Ipswich for more than ten years, was well-known for her fight to save the Anglesea Road hospital from being re-developed.

Her daughter was shocked and devastated by her sudden death and immediately complained to the hospital about a catalogue of incidents including what she claimed was a dirty ward and lack of decent food during a previous stay.

Following an investigation the hospital apologised that Molly Hammond had been unhappy with her stay and said some improvements had now been made.

When she was not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation the acting chief executive of Ipswich NHS Trust, Chris Dooley, personally undertook a further investigation on her behalf.

Molly Hammond had been in hospital twice between May and July, suffering with breathing problems because of an asthma complaint but when she left after her second visit there was a large black bruise on her leg.

That night her leg became extremely painful and swollen and Mary Hammond called out an emergency doctor.

She said: "He thought it might possibly be a blood clot and thought it could be cellulitis but he said he had been wrong before and said he was going to readmit her to hospital recommending that a scan should be taken."

But when Mary Hammond visited the hospital a scan had not been taken and she was being treated for cellulitis.

On July 24 she arrived at hospital to find her mother back on breathing equipment and in extreme pain in her leg.

She was told that her mother was suffering from a touch of pneumonia but 45 minutes later her health deteriorated dramatically and she had to be resuscitated.

Doctors told Mary Hammond that a blood clot had travelled to her mother's lung and that her chances of survival were very slim. Molly Hammond died soon after.

She moved to Ipswich more than 30 years ago and she with her husband Walter were well known faces. Mrs Hammond served on the Ipswich Borough Council for more than ten years while Walter was a well-known county councillor.

Mrs Hammond was a strident campaigner and her Woodbridge Road home was often used as a base during electioneering.

SECONDARY PIECE WITH HOSPITAL STATEMENT

However following the investigations into the matter Mr Dooley told the Evening Star: "Mrs Hammond was very poorly when she came into hospital as an emergency admission. An investigative scan may have helped with the diagnosis but we believe clinicians caring for Mrs Hammond treated her appropriately.

"I have spoken to Miss Hammond and she is clearly heartbroken and grief-stricken at the death of her mother. I have personally led the investigation into Miss Hammond's complaint and the results of our initial investigation were given to her on August 23, 2002. After further discussion with Miss Hammond, I undertook to carry out another investigation and promised that the results of this would be available at the end of Friday

"We have honoured our promise and have been trying to make contact with Miss Hammond to come and discuss the findings of this further investigation.

"The allegations in Miss Hammond's complaint are being taken very seriously by this Trust. The evidence we have does not substantiate the allegations but this does not, of course, alleviate Miss Hammond's distress at this very sad time."

FACTFILE:

Cellulitis: An acute, non-contagious inflammation of the skin tissue, resulting from bacterial infection.

Symptoms – localised skin redness or inflammation that increases in size

Tight, glossy, stretched appearance of the skin

Pain or tenderness of the area, skin lesions, warmth over the area of redness, fever, fatigue, muscle aches, general ill feeling.

Information source: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus

Deep Vein Thrombosis: DVT refers to the formation of a blood clot within a deep vein, commonly in the thigh or calf.

It can be caused by poor circulation because of problems such as heart disease, a recent heart attack or stroke, varicose veins or from inactivity or prolonged bed rest.

Symptoms – tenderness and redness in affected area.

Pain and swelling in areas drained by the vein where the blood clot is located, fever, rapid heart beat.

Treatment – hospitalisation and bed rest are usually necessary at first, warm moist heat relieves the pain but the most important treatment is to prevent the clot from travelling to other parts of the body.

Information source: http://hcd2.bupa.co.uk/fact_sheets/mosby_factsheets/Deep_Vein_Thrombosis.html

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