Hospital apology over death of gran

Copy pic of Alice Sawden who died from an infection following a mastectomy to treat breast cancer
Copy pic of Alice Sawden who died from an infection following a mastectomy to treat breast cancer

HOSPITAL bosses have apologised after a grandmother died from an infection following cancer surgery.

Alice Sawden, 68, was diagnosed with breast cancer last November and underwent a mastectomy operation, but the wound became infected.

An inquest heard that concerns were raised about delays in treatment and a breakdown in communication between staff at Pinderfields Hospital and Pontefract General Infirmary.

Mrs Sawden’s husband of 49 years, Malcolm Sawden, 73, of Pippins Green Avenue, Kirkhamgate gave evidence.

Coroner David Hinchliff asked him: “Over all, you feel that the standard of treatment your wife was given was extremely poor and you believe that had there been more positive and earlier intervention then she could have survived?”

Mr Sawden answered: “Yes.”

The hearing was told that the infection could have been caused by tubes attached to her wound being fitted incorrectly and delays in treating the infection.

Susan Clarke, chairman of surgery at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, said: “There was a breakdown in communication between teams.”

Mrs Sawden died in Pontefract General Infirmary at 6.10am on December 22, 2010.

Mr Hinchliff recorded a narrative verdict and said earlier treatment “was desirable but it could not be established if this could have altered the outcome”.

After the hearing Prof Tim Hendra, medical director at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to Mrs Sawden’s family.

“We always aim to provide the best possible care for our patients and we have been in contact with Mrs Sawden’s family regarding their concerns.

“We carried out a full and thorough investigation to identify if we could have done things differently. We recognised that there were aspects of communication and documentation that did not meet the high standard that we expect and we would like to apologise for this.

“We have completed all recommended actions that were highlighted in this investigation including reinforcing best practice in documentation as part of effective communication.

“We would welcome the opportunity to meet with Mrs Sawden’s family to discuss this and any remaining concerns they have.”