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Hornchurch woman died day after hospital discharge, but no missed diagnosis - inquest

16:06 04 February 2013

Sheila Butcher

Sheila Butcher's inquest took place at Walthamstow Coroner's Court

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An elderly woman died the day after being discharged from hospital.

But an inquest recorded that there was no missed diagnosis in the days prior to the death of Sheila Butcher.

The 73-year-old, from Hornchurch, died of acute peritonitis because of a stomach ulcer.

She passed away on January 6 2011, having been discharged from Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford on January 5.

Walthamstow Coroner’s Court heard today that she suffered from diabetes and high cholesterol, and had been admitted to hospital on December 31st after suffering mobility problems.

Hospital staff also believed she was suffering from gastroenteritis while she was there.

She was still complaining to family members about stomach pains on January 5.

But neither her GP, nor clinicians at Queen’s Hospital had recorded stomach pains as an issue for her.

The court heard that Mrs Butcher would have been asked regularly by hospital staff whether she felt any pain and at no point was the box ticked on their form to indicate that she did.

On the day she was discharged, a registrar had recorded her as feeling “well”.

Her GP Dr Suhail Hameed told the inquest that he had called her on the day she passed away to check how she was feeling, and sent a “rapid response team” to her Haynes Road home.

He said: “A normal GP might not have done it but I took the extra precaution. The rapid response team visited her and gave her a total check up – there was no stomach pain.”

The inquest heard that some stomach ulcer sufferers only feel intermittent pain and that it was possible she had not been feeling any at the times when she was asked by hospital staff.

Coroner Chinyere Inyama recorded a verdict of natural causes.

He said: “I’m satisfied that there wasn’t a missed diagnosis on the evidence I’ve heard. Therefore there’s no human culpability.”

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