Back to Legal Industry News

Investigation Reveals Errors at Kettering Hospital

A BBC investigation has found a number of errors at Kettering Hospital.

The broadcaster submitted a Freedom of Information request to discover what failings occurred at the facility, which found itself under fire after the death of 17-year-old Victoria Harrison.

Although a full inquiry took place, the hospital refused to publish the results because it did not want to put staff under more stress than they were already exposed to.

The BBC challenged this and managed to get a document detailing all of the failings at the hospital, although the names of those involved were redacted as part of an effort to avoid excessive media attention.

Ten members of staff were disciplined after Miss Harrison died in 2012, but the extent to which they were sanctioned has not been revealed.

In total there were 43 mistakes, errors and oversights and errors made while doctors and nurses took care of the teenager, including the wrong surgeon being named on hospital documentation and an inconsistency in respiratory rate recordings.

Uncertainty over blood loss, the lack of a pain assessment, problems with overnight monitoring, a lack of communication with Miss Harrison's family and vital signs not being monitored after painkillers were given were also highlighted in the report.

Coroner Ann Pember criticised Kettering Hospital in her ruling and said Miss Harrison's chances of survival would have been "significantly improved" if the normal guidelines were followed in the 17-year-old's care.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: "It is vitally important that trusts disclose information about things that have gone wrong so that we can learn from mistakes.

"The tragic death of 17-year-old Victoria Harrison is a clear example of lack of communication between staff leading to a catalogue of errors and unacceptable care. It is essential that lessons are learnt and practices modified so that there is no repeat of such cases."

Speaking in January, Kettering Hospital's chief executive Fiona Wise defended her trust's decision not to release the names of staff members implicated in Miss Harrison's death.

By Francesca Witney