Hospital apology after mum dies in oxygen mistake

Picture of Elizabeth Waldron and daughter Sandra. Elizabeth died at Sunderland Royal Hospital in July 2012
Picture of Elizabeth Waldron and daughter Sandra. Elizabeth died at Sunderland Royal Hospital in July 2012
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A MOTHER died after being given huge amounts of oxygen by a nurse “not trained” in the procedure.

Bosses at Sunderland Royal Hospital have apologised for the death of Peterlee pensioner Elizabeth Waldron, and said the tragedy has led to new systems being put in place.

Mrs Waldron died less than two hours after being administered uncontrolled levels of oxygen when she fell seriously ill.

But an inquest at Sunderland Coroner’s Court into the 77-year-old’s death was told she may not have died had correct procedures been in place.

Staff nurse Rani George told the hearing she had not been trained in administration of oxygen to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients.

Hospital bosses said lessons had been learned from Mrs Waldron’s death and medics had received extra training.

Mrs Waldron was admitted to hospital on July 20 last year suffering from severe breathing problems due to COPD. Her condition deteriorated during the following 24 hours.

By 5am the following day, Staff Nurse George noticed the pensioner’s oxygen saturation levels had fallen to critical levels of just 41 per cent. Doctors had instructed levels be maintained between 88 and 92 per cent.

Staff Nurse George increased the oxygen supply in a bid to stabilise Mrs Waldron’s condition, but levels then reached up to 97 per cent.

A doctor was contacted at 5.05am to assess Mrs Waldron. But, the inquest heard Staff Nurse George failed to pass on information about the critical oxygen level changes and the assessment was not carried out until around 5.30am. Mrs Waldron was pronounced dead at 6.30am.

Coroner Derek Winter recorded a narrative verdict stating Mrs Waldron died of natural causes contributed by oxygen levels not appropriately maintained and managed and the absence of a more timely medical review.