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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Woman, 26, died of DVT after NHS walk-in centre nurse 'diagnosed muscular pain using COMPUTER guide'

-Rebecca told husband nurse had 'fobbed her off' days before she died

By Daily Mail Reporter

The case of a young woman who died from deep vein thrombosis after nurses used a computer guide to diagnose her with muscular pain, has been referred to the Health Secretary.

Rebecca Cain, 26, died after suffering a huge blood clot in her leg in 2009 - days after she had begged nurses at a Nottingham NHS walk-in centre for help.

Rebecca Cain on her wedding day: She diagnosed herself with DVT but was 'fobbed off' by nurses before her death

Rebecca, from Radford, Nottinghamshire, diagnosed her own condition after spending just 10 minutes on the internet but nurses insisted the pain and swelling in her leg was 'definitely muscular' - and sent her home.

Her husband Gareth told an inquest into her death that his wife had been in tears, saying the nurse had 'fobbed her off.'

After the inquest last November, Coroner Geoff Fell ordered an investigation into the 'serious failure' to be carried out.

Rebecca's widower, Gareth Cain, 29, has now welcomed the findings of the investigation, which have not been made public, being passed to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, to check the necessary action has been taken.

Gareth said: 'From my point of view, any further investigation is a good thing. I'm hoping it will have a positive impact.'

Coroner Geoff Fell made a narrative verdict at the inquest in Harrogate, ruling that Rebecca died because a nurse missed symptoms of deep vein thrombosis last June, and asked for a serious case review.

The inquest had heard that Rebecca had diagnosed herself with Deep Vein Thromboses after noticing pain and swelling in her right calf.

She had asked the walk-in clinic for help, but a nurse at the centre relied on a computerised guide to diagnose Rebecca, rather than rely on her experience as a nurse.

Rebecca, a marketing executive, was told by the nurse her problems were 'definitely muscular'.

Gareth told the inquest his wife was in tears, saying the nurse had 'fobbed her off'.

A few days later, while visiting friends in Harrogate, Mrs Cain collapsed and died hours later in hospital, where doctors diagnosed DVT.

Mr Fell ordered a full review into the 'serious failure'.

The walk-in centre used to be managed by an organisation called CitiHealth NHS Nottingham. It is now run by the Nottingham City Care Partnership, which provides services for NHS Nottingham City.

A previous investigation was carried out by independent consultants Verita, which found two previous incidents of deep vein thrombosis being overlooked at the centre, in 2002 and 2008.

A spokesperson for NHS Nottingham City said: 'Following the death of Mrs Cain an independent investigation was undertaken into the care and treatment she received.

'The report from this investigation made recommendations which have now been fully implemented, including additional training for staff.

'In addition, we have also ensured that the computer system used to diagnose patients has been modified to minimise the risk of any future misdiagnoses.

'We have met with the family of Mrs Cain to ensure that they are satisfied with the actions taken and to address any remaining questions they had.

Mrs Cain visited the Nottingham NHS Walk-In Centre in 2009 after developing leg pain

'We will now be reviewing all correspondence from the coroner and proactively seeking to work with both him and the Department of Health to resolve any outstanding concerns.

'We again extend our sympathies to the family of Mrs Cain and wish to reassure patients that we are committed to ensuring that they are safe and protected whilst in our care.'

As the case has been referred to the Secretary of State this means the Department of Health will now review the paperwork to check all the recommendations have been adhered to.

The Secretary of State will then either write to the coroner and say he is satisfied, or say he is not satisfied and ask NHS Nottingham City to do more to implement the recommendations.



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