Disabled girl, 12, who was left in NHS hospital until rigor mortis set in died after catalogue of failings by medical staff
- Emma Stones died of blood poisoning at Tameside General Hospital in February 2011
- Care she received from medical staff was ‘inadequate’ and ‘simply not acceptable’, coroner rules
- Hospital staff failed to monitor Emma properly because they were ‘busy’, inquest hears
- Emma’s body was ‘ice cold’ when her father saw her, even though staff told him she had only just died
- Nurse was suspended for one month and given a warning before resuming her job
Victim: Emma Stones died in hospital following a catalogue of errors by medical staff who provided a level of care that was ‘inadequate’ and ‘simply not acceptable’, a coroner ruled
A coroner last night condemned a hospital after hearing a girl may have died in her bed and then been left by staff for so long she developed rigor mortis.
John Pollard said it was ‘simply not acceptable’ that Mike Stones, 59, should find his 12-year-old daughter Emma stiff and cold to the touch – despite being told by staff she had died minutes before.
An inquest heard that as well as not being given a blood test, Emma had not been monitored in the early hours by nurses, who also failed to take her blood pressure.
Mr Pollard said the inadequate treatment Emma received played a part in her death from septicaemia at Tameside Hospital in Greater Manchester.
He added: ‘If the observations had been performed more accurately and the treatment had been instigated at an earlier stage, the likelihood is that Emma would have survived.’
Last night her parents, Mr Stones and his wife Tracy Futcher, 42, said they were considering legal action against the hospital.
They added: ‘Something has to be wrong if this can happen in an NHS hospital. We insist that lessons are learned for the wider NHS as well as Tameside and that people are held to account.
‘Emma was a lovely girl who we all loved very much. She deserved much better care than what she actually received.
‘No child should be neglected in the way that Emma was, let alone a child with a mental handicap like Emma.’
The schoolgirl, who lived with her parents and twin sister Christina in Dukinfield, Greater Manchester, was taken to hospital on February 6, 2011, suffering from flu-like symptoms.
But hospital staff failed to diagnose a bacterial infection because they were too busy to carry out basic blood tests and neglected to check on her properly.
Disgusted and appalled: Parents Michael Stones and Tracy Futcher (left), are to take legal advice after a coroner ruled that their daughter Emma, pictured with her twin sister Christina (right), would have survived had her care not been so poor
The hearing was told how Emma’s blood pressure was never taken as it should have been under hospital policy.
A team of three nurses failed to monitor her regularly throughout the night – she should have been observed every four hours.
Emma’s father said that when they arrived at the hospital at 8.30am after being called there by staff, a doctor said: ‘Emma’s heart has just stopped, she has just died.’
But Mr Stones, who was Emma’s full-time carer, said she was already ‘stiff as a board’.
The coroner told them at the inquest in Stockport that nurses’ evidence suggested their daughter could have been dead or dying as early as 4.30am.
Tariq Mahmood, medical director at Tameside Hospital, said: ‘We acknowledge that the standard of care which we gave Emma was not acceptable.’
Mr Pollard recorded a narrative verdict.
Failings: Staff at Tameside General Hospital did not monitor Emma properly and skipped important checks
‘Lovely girl’: A picture of Emma (left) and her twin sister Christina (right) as babies
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