Widower calls for action to avoid repeat of tragedy

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 28 March 2014 Updated: 01/04 09:24

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THE WIDOWER of a diabetic woman whose life could have been saved by a simple blood test has called on more to be done to avoid a similar tragedy.

David Pitt spoke out following a Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing on Thursday, March 27, which saw lead nurse Jackie Charman receiving a five-year caution order.

She has been told she must do further training if she returns to work after admitting failing to make the necessary checks before Margaret Pitt died in the Alexandra Hospital at the end of 2010 but has not been struck off the nursing register.

Mrs Pitt, aged 55, had lived with Type One diabetes for 30 years but suffered an irreversible brain injury and died after her glucose levels were not monitored.

Last year Mr Pitt received an undisclosed settlement and formal apology from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust after they admitted her critically low blood sugar levels would have been detected sooner had the checks taken place.

Mr Pitt, aged 63, said: "My family and I are frustrated, hurt and disappointed as we have been given no reason about why the NMC made the decision not to remove Jackie Charman from the nursing register.

“We hoped we would get closure yesterday in the hearing, but knowing she can be in charge of other patient’s care again leaves us struggling to move on.

“We can only hope that the training she will have to undergo to begin nursing again ensures she learns from what went wrong and that no other family will be left in the same situation as us.

“The Trust has repeatedly said that lessons have been learned, however we have not been told exactly what action has been taken to improve the treatment diabetic patients are offered. We feel that this is the least we deserve – nothing can bring Margaret back, but knowing her death was not in vain will give us some peace of mind."

Sara Burns, partner and medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell, added: "From investigating the failures relating to Mrs Pitt’s care, whilst Jackie Charman was the lead nurse and made a series of undeniable errors, she was also not the only individual at fault.

"Like Mr Pitt, we would like to see reassurance from the Trust about exactly what improvements have been made by the Trust in the treatment of diabetic patients to ensure the same tragedy can never be repeated.

"We welcome confirmation that it has increased training and funding in that particular area of care but Mr Pitt deserves to know what systems and guidelines have now been introduced that would protect a patient from suffering the same gross negligence as his wife."

A Trust spokeswoman said they wanted to offer their sincere condolences to Mrs Pitt's family.

"The nurse in question no longer works for our trust. We took action to improve care following this case. We continue to invest heavily in diabetes services both in our hospitals and in the community."

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