I was very upset this week to hear of another death caused by deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Alison Taylor who was only 29 years old was referred to her local hospital in Leicester with a suspected DVT following the birth of her daughter. She was admitted with a swollen leg, but she couldn’t have an ultrasound scan because these scans were not available on the maternity ward at weekends. Had she been seen in the casualty department, she probably would have had a scan straight away. Sadly, she collapsed and died just days after giving birth to her baby and the inquest into her death suggested that if she had been scanned it is likely she would still be alive.
One in 1000 pregnant women develop DVT. Given the number of children who are born in our hospitals each year, there are a lot of women who are at risk of this complication, so it isn’t a rare problem. In fact, DVT and pulmonary embolism (where a clot from the leg breaks free and travels to the lungs) are important causes of death during pregnancy and after child birth.
So what can be done?
In my opinion, the NHS has to recognise that sick people may need help at anytime of the day or night, including weekends. It is not acceptable to have an inferior service at night, at weekends and on bank holidays. The whole of the NHS needs to be responsive to people in need 24/7 and 365. Furthermore, sick people should be seen, assessed and managed by highly trained staff, preferably consultants, rather than junior doctors.
I understand that at the time of this posting, Mr Taylor is planning to sue the hospital. Some would say, this is the only way to get change in the NHS. I am very interested to hear your views, so please do get in touch. Alternatively, you can leave a comment or message in the box below
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