A coroner has said that failures of staff at Tunbridge Wells Hospital led to the death of a student who died hours after doctors had failed to spot he had sepsis.
Tim Mason told the hospital he had flu-like symptoms and felt like he was dying, he was discharged without further treatment but was rushed back to the A&E department later that day and despite receiving treatment, he died.
The inquest into his death heard that hospital staff missed several chances to test the student for sepsis, despite him displaying signs of the deadly infection. Mr Mason had also developed the rare W strain of meningitis.
He died after his organs began to fail and suffered a cardiac arrest during whilst during an induced coma.
The coroner stated that given the results of Mr Mason’s blood test, temperature and heart rate, he should have received a sepsis screening and been reviewed by a senior doctor.
Following that, they would have been able to receive the correct diagnosis and most likely he would have been prescribed intravenous antibiotics and he would not have died.
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has accepted liability and admitted breaching a duty of care.
A legal spokesman for Mr Mason’s family said: “For Tim’s family nothing can make up for his loss, but the acknowledgement of responsibility will go a small way to helping them move on and hope the events surrounding his death can be learnt from.”
“We should now be able to resolve a legal claim on behalf of the family.”
After the hearing, Dr Peter Maskell, the trust’s medical director, apologised to the student’s family and friends for not doing everything it clinically could have to help diagnose the sepsis sooner.
“While no words can adequately address their loss, we will ensure that lessons are learnt by our doctors and nurses,” Dr Maskell said.
He said the hospital had carried out a full review and had taken a number of steps to address areas that “fell short of the high standards we want for all of our patients”.