‘I thought hos­pi­tal would look after one of their own’ Hus­band’s dev­as­ta­tion at nurse’s need­less death

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Ali­son Stacey Staff Re­porter

AFORMER mid­wife died at the hos­pi­tal she served faith­fully for more than 30 years after blun­ders fol­low­ing ab­dom­i­nal surgery.

Lynda Sim­monds’ fam­ily has now won a six-fig­ure pay­out four years after her death at Heart­lands Hos­pi­tal.

The Heart of Trust ad­mit­ted care.

Hus­band John is now calling on the Trust to en­sure lessons are learned after Lynda died fol­low­ing in­com­plete bowel surgery.

Emer­gency surgery to save her was also de­layed by four days and she died on March 28, 2013.

“We have been ab­so­lutely de­stroyed,” said Mr Sim­monds, 53, from Stech­ford.

“Lynda was my best friend and my wife for more than 20 years.

“She worked there as a mid­wife for 32 years – you would have thought that they would look after one of their own.

“We had booked to go back to Ja­maica for our an­niver­sary be­cause we’d been there for our hon­ey­moon and we loved it there. In­stead, I took her back there to scat­ter her ashes.”

The grand­mother-of-two vis­ited her GP on March 20, 2013, after suf­fer­ing stom­ach pains and con­sti­pa­tion. The 61-yearold was pre­scribed lax­a­tives but after two days was ad­mit­ted to Heart­lands Hos­pi­tal.

Scans re­vealed she had a per­fo­ra­tion of her colon, and she un­der­went a six-hour op­er­a­tion, after which she was sent to in­ten­sive care to re­cover. Eng­land NHS fail­ings in her

After that, she con­tin­ued her re­cov­ery on a ward. But it later be­came ap­par­ent that the surgery had not been com­pleted cor­rectly.

Fluid was leak­ing into her body from her small bowel. A drain was in­serted but by the time Mrs Sim­monds was sent for an emer­gency colostomy it was too late to save her. She died the next day of mul­ti­ple or­gan fail­ure.

“After the surgery it did seem like Lynda was re­cov­er­ing OK, although she did need plenty of flu­ids,” re­calls Mr Sim­monds, 53.

“It even got to a point where I took her friend in to see her, and she was able to laugh and joke with her.

“At that point I had no con­cerns about what was go­ing on.”

On March 27 he vis­ited Lynda in the morn­ing and, as all seemed fine, he planned to re­turn to the hos­pi­tal on that even­ing.

But shortly after get­ting home, he re­ceived a call from the hos­pi­tal. The news came like a bomb- shell. He was told his wife’s con­di­tion had de­te­ri­o­rated and that she needed emer­gency surgery.

He later learned that this was be­cause the drain in­serted after surgery was leak­ing.

“I was stunned by the news,” said Mr Sim­monds. “But I felt that at least she was in the best pos­si­ble place.

“But when she came out of surgery, she was placed in in­ten­sive care and on life sup­port ma­chines. We knew at that point that she was in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion.”

The next day, Mr Sim­monds was ad­vised that his wife had de­vel­oped fae­cal peri­toni­tis and mul­ti­ple or­gan away at 9pm.

Now, the fam­ily has won a set­tle­ment with the Trust, after in­struct­ing neg­li­gence lawyers at Ir­win Mitchell in Birmingham.

“We all miss Lynda so much,” said John. “I still can­not be­lieve how quickly her con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rated. I’m very an­gry and frus­trated by what hap­pened, par­tic­u­larly when it came to her fi­nal mo­ments.

“I was told on the even­ing to get my­self a cof­fee. While I was do­ing this, a nurse ran up and told me I would miss the chance to say good­bye if I didn’t hurry back.

“When I did, the ma­chines had al­ready been switched off. I’m still dev­as­tated by this.”

A spokes­woman for the Heart of Eng­land Trust said: “We apol­o­gise to the fam­ily of Mrs Sim­monds.

“We have agreed a set­tle­ment on this claim, which was a com­plex sur­gi­cal case where com­pli­ca­tions arose fol­low­ing nec­es­sary surgery.” fail­ure. She died

I still can­not be­lieve how quickly her con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rated John Sim­monds

> Lynda Sim­monds as a young Heart­lands Hos­pi­tal mid­wife and, right, in more re­cent years

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