Family’s emotional tribute after inquest dismisses neglect claim

Margaret Gleeson
Margaret Gleeson

The family of a popular Wigan grandmother who died in hospital from a rare complication after a hernia operation have paid tribute to her.

Bolton Coroner’s Court heard Margaret Gleeson, from Swinley, died from cardiac failure at Wigan Infirmary last October after she developed sepsis and bubbles of gas got into her abdomen.

We sincerely hope that no other family has to suffer the pain and anguish we have had to endure following mum’s death

Julie Barnes - Mrs Gleeson’s daughter

Her family had asked if weekend staffing levels at Wigan Infirmary had contributed to her death but assistant coroner Simon Jones found the 70-year-old had not been neglected.

However, he will write to Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust expressing concern at staffing on Saturdays and Sundays and about the early warning system nurses use when observing patients.

Following the three-day hearing solicitors for the family said it was clear she had experienced poor levels of care while WWL expressed its condolences.

Mrs Gleeson’s daughter Julie Barnes said: “To say we miss Mum is an understatement. She was the focal point of our family and my two sisters, brother and I have lost our lovely mum and nine grandchildren no longer have the grandma they adored.

“We sincerely hope that no other family has to suffer the pain and anguish we have had to endure following mum’s death.

“Our legal action is part of the process we feel we have to go through to ensure lessons are learnt and procedures put in-place to guard against such errors in the future.”

Representing the family, Stephen Jones from law firm Leigh Day said: “We are satisfied that after hearing the evidence, Margaret Gleeson’s care fell below proper levels and that her death was eminently preventable.

“We are not sure of the extent to which weekend working was a factor in her death but we recognise that in view of the comments made by some of the trust’s own clinicians that local people will be extremely concerned.

“We therefore welcome the fact that the coroner has asked the Trust to look at this issue.”

“I can confirm that we are pursuing a civil action against WWL.”

A WWL spokesman said: “We would like to take this opportuntiy to express our sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Margaret Gleeson.

“Mrs Gleeson received attention and care from a large number of qualified professionals, who arranged for her to receive further investigations to try to diagnose the cause of her deteriorating condition so that appropriate treatment could be delivered.

“The Trust has cooperated fully with the coroner’s investigation and inquest and accepts the conclusion and findings.

“The Trust does not believe that Mrs Gleeson’s death was the result of any difference between the resources available and services provided at the weekend and those provided on weekdays.

“The Trust’s own investigation revealed that there were shortcomings in some aspects of the care delivered to Mrs Gleeson, for which the Trust offers its sincere apologies.”

Doctors told the inquest ­the quality of care dropped at weekends. One consultant said he had been trying to get extra help for two years.

Clinical director Maris Paraoan also admitted that had Mrs Gleeson been given fluids on the night before she died she would probably have survived the operation.

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