Family Settle Claim for a Wrongful Death due to a Failure to Monitor Oxygen Levels

A family from Wolverhampton has settled its claim for a wrongful death due to a failure to monitor oxygen levels for an undisclosed amount.

On 25th June 2011, Hilda Seagrave (74) from Wolverhampton in the West Midlands was admitted to the New Cross Hospital after suffering a fall in her home. Hilda – who was already being treated with oxygen therapy for a clotting disorder that was affecting her lungs – was diagnosed with a spinal injury and placed in a ward.

Overnight, Hilda was given an oxygen cylinder, rather than being connected to a piped oxygen supply; and, when the oxygen in the cylinder ran out at around 6:00am in the morning, Hilda died from a cardiorespiratory arrest.

An inquest into Hilda´s death discovered multiple failings with the standard of care Hilda received, after which her family sought legal advice and made a claim for a wrongful death due to a failure to monitor oxygen levels.

A subsequent investigation by the family´s solicitor found that Hilda should have been admitted to a high dependency unit because of her existing condition, that she should have been provided with a continuous supply of oxygen and been monitored hourly.

Despite there being substantial evidence to support the claim for a wrongful death due to a failure to monitor oxygen levels, the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust contested responsibility for Hilda´s death; but, when court proceedings were issued, agreed to an out-of-court settlement without an admission of liability.

Speaking after the settlement of the claim for a wrongful death due to a failure to monitor oxygen levels Hilda´s daughter Sue said, “We trusted that staff caring for our mother whilst she was in hospital would give her the very best quality of care available and to discover after she had passed away that her oxygen supply had run out during the night and not replaced is simply unacceptable”.

“We are disappointed that the Trust has not accepted responsibility formally for what happened to our mother – I hope that after what happened to my mother, all staff at the hospital receive all the training they need to ensure that these mistakes can never happen again.”