Mum's questions over daughter's treatment

A DISTRAUGHT mother whose daughter died of pneumonia says she still has questions over her daughter's care.

Friday, 2nd July 2010, 11:20 am

Jean Addison's daughter Beverley Carter, 56, died at her home in Fairmoor Way, Heckmondwike, last October, a day after returning from a family holiday.

The mum of one had multiple health problems and was recovering from an operation on her spine, when she began coughing up blood. But she wanted to wait until she was home before seeing a doctor.

Mrs Addison said: "When we got home she asked us to call the doctor at Undercliffe Surgery in Healey Lane, Batley, who she was familiar with, but he wasn't available, so another GP, Dr Antony Goodwin, came.

"I told him I thought she needed to go to hospital as she had suffered with pneumonia twice before, but he checked her chest and back and reassured us all that she would be alright. We asked if we should take her to the hospital, but he said no, and prescribed her two lots of antibiotics.

"When my other daughter, Brenda, went to get the prescription, they said they couldn't read his handwriting and called him at the surgery but he was in a meeting. Beverley told us to go and said a local taxi firm she used would collect the prescription for her when she was able to confirm the medication."

The next day, Mrs Addison tried phoning her daughter. There was no answer so the next day they went to her house - but Beverley was already dead.

Now Mrs Addison, 81, is demanding answers over her daughter's care.

"I was told she was very ill and that she would have died anyway, but if that is the case, why were we not told to take her into hospital?"

She told the Guardian she had since received a letter from Dr Goodwin.

It said: "I am sorry for the loss that you and your family have suffered and I apologise for any distress you have experienced as a result of my actions."

In the letter, Dr Goodwin said he examined Mrs Carter's chest and assessed the CRB-65 score, which is used for all people diagnosed with pneumonia. The result came back as zero, which, according to guidelines, means those patients can be treated at home and do not have to be admitted to hospital. He also arranged an immediate referral for a chest x-ray.

Speaking to the Guardian, Dr Goodwin added: "The case was referred to the health ombudsman who reviewed it twice and comcluded that no further action was required."

A spokeswoman for NHS Kirklees said: "We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Mrs Addison and her family. Due to patient confidentiality we are unable to discuss this case."