Hospital to say sorry after deaths

The Thomason family all together in happier times Colin, Debbie and Jacqueline
The Thomason family all together in happier times Colin, Debbie and Jacqueline

HOSPITAL chiefs are to apologise after two patients were killed by a lethal bacterial outbreak in an operating theatre.

Former NHS worker Jacqueline Thomason was admitted to Wigan Infirmary for routine surgery to remove part of her thyroid gland when she contracted the deadly infection Group A streptococcus.

She was discharged the next day but became ill and was rushed back to hospital for an emergency operation.

Doctors were unable to save the mum-of-one, who died five days later. She was 53.

Wigan, Wrightington and Leigh NHS (WWL) Trust launched an inquiry after Mrs Thomason and another unnamed patient - who was treated in the same anaesthetic room - died from the bacterial infection.

Two further patients and three members of staff were also treated after showing symptoms of the infection.

In a letter seen by the Wigan Observer, the Trust says it will issue an apology after admitting a breach in their duty of care which led to Mrs Thomason’s death.

Her devastated family today vowed they would never return to the hospital.

Husband Colin, 54, said: “This has put a tremendous strain on the family. We talked to the surgeon after Jackie’s thyroid operation and he was quite happy with how it went. We were told the operation had a 90 per cent recovery rate.

“She was discharged but that night she was very short of breath and in a lot of pain.

“We went back to Wigan Infirmary and she was kept in overnight for observation. But she started showing signs of more problems and was taken into theatre.

“We’re never going near that hospital again.

This was a basic thyroid operation that has resulted with in this tragic death. No amount of compensation can repay a life.”

A hospital inquiry has detailed 14 recommendations including changes to the cleaning of Laryngoscope handles and improvements in hygiene monitoring.

Mrs Thomason, of Holden Brook Close, Leigh, had been admitted to Wigan Infirmary on March 29 last year for a thyroidectomy.

The former nursery nurse at Leigh Infirmary’s Mary Sheridan Unit was discharged the next day before returning to hospital hours later with symptoms of the Group A streptococcus infection. She died on April 3, 2010.

Patients on the theatre waiting list for March 29, 2010, were contacted and asked to report any symptoms.

An inquest into Mrs Thomason’s death will be held at Bolton Coroner’s Court in August.

A post mortem has revealed the cause of death to be multiple organ failure with septicemia. A contributory factor was thyroidectomy for papillary carcinoma.

A spokesman for WWL NHS Trust said: “The Trust can confirm that there is a live legal case concerning the late Mrs Thomason and that it is inappropriate for the Trust to comment further at this time.

“There were two deaths in total related to this incidence of Group A streptococcus infection including Mrs Thomason.

“However the other case was the index patient who acquired the infection in the community. There were two other patients where Group A streptococcus was identified who were treated and recovered.

“WWL did carry out an investigation into this incidence of Group A streptococcus infection. Although the investigation revealed that WWL’s practice was consistent with national practice, the decision was made to change working practices to ensure that there will not be a repeat.”