Hospital apologises to Pulham Market family after death

Nicola Tweedy. ANL-150403-162813001
Nicola Tweedy. ANL-150403-162813001

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has apologised to a south Norfolk family after a woman died following varicose vein surgery.

Nicola Tweedy. 54, of Pulham Market, suffered a pulmonary embolism two days after the day operation in March 2014.

An out of court settlement for a six-figure sum was agreed between the hospital and husband Christopher Tweedy last month.

The hospital has subsequently been criticised by an independent expert appointed to look at the hospital’s protocols and the care provided, while senior coroner Jacqueline Lake wrote to the hospital requiring them to make other improvements to prevent repeat cases.

Anna Dugdale, chief executive of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: “We are very sorry for the sad death of Mrs Tweedy.

“I have offered Mr Tweedy and his family my sincere apologies. We are committed to continuously improving the care we provide to our patients and I am certain that we have learned from this tragedy and we have introduced changes that will benefit future patients and their families.”

Mr Tweedy said he was ‘satisfied’ the hospital had learnt from her death.

“I’m happy that the NHS Litigation Authority has decided that it cannot and will not defend the N&N in regards to the care they provided to my wife.

“For us, this was all about ensuring lessons were learnt and about receiving an apology from the hospital. I’m satisfied that the N&N have learnt from this tragedy.

“I’m also satisfied that these lessons will be shared and learnt on a national basis.

“The chief executive has now given us as a family, a full, unreserved and sincere apology which we have accepted.

“I am lost and broken without her. I will love her and will miss her until we are together again.”

The inquest in Norwich in March of this year heard how Mrs Tweedy, a classroom assistant and mother of two, had day surgery on her right leg at the hospital on March 27, 2014, and was discharged later that evening by nurses.

But two days later she was found by her adult son Alex lifeless in a chair. She had suffered a pulmonary embolism – which is usually caused by a blood clot.

In her narrative verdict Mrs Lake concluded: “Mrs Tweedy died following a rare but recognised risk of appropriate surgery,”

During the inquest it was found a thrombosis risk assessment before the surgery, while a nurse conceded it was “an oversight” on her part that the discharge checklist was not filled in on the evening of Mrs Tweedy’s discharge from the hospital.

The hospital were also criticised by the coroner at the inquest for not providing her with an extended course of blood thinning drugs in order to minimise the risk of a pulmonary embolism occurring.

Lawyer Sharon Allison, of Ashton KCJ, added: “Chris Tweedy deserves huge credit for the vigour and passion with which he has committed himself to getting the right outcome in his wife’s memory.

“Clearly Chris and Nicky were a devoted couple, and I know how much it means to Chris to have this admission at last that Nicky’s death could have been prevented.”

The Norfolk and Norwich Hospital have produced an action plan to take account of the recommendations made by the independent expert and the concerns raised by the coroner.