Patient treatment probe after woman died in hospitalBy Laura Herbert
April 19, 2010
The death of a 30-year-old Bracknell woman in a Reading hospital has resulted in and investigation into in procedures to improve continuity of treatment of patients
Nicola Cronin from Oldstead was admitted to Royal Berkshire Hospital five times in five months suffering from dehydration and vomiting, an inquest heard.
In the months leading up to her death her weight plummeted and she suffered from vomiting, acute renal failure and physical weakness.
During an inquest on Tuesday, April 6 at Reading Civic Centre, Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford heard evidence from Dr Margaret Myszor who said the hospital is investigating ways of ensuring patient continuity after different doctors saw Miss Cronin on each visit.
The cause of death was recorded as unascertained after doctors were unable to come to a firm conclusion based on her symptoms.
Dr Myszor said: “We have tried very hard to come up with an explanation that will fit with the facts but we are unable to.”
On four occasions Miss Cronin was sent home after she was rehydrated but the cause of the vomiting was never found.
By the time she made her fifth visit to the hospital
she had lost a one-and-a-half stone in weight within three months and died on July 5 last year.
Dr Myszor told the inquest there was no “obvious reason for her death” and speculated it may be due to a “metabolic disturbance but there’s nothing to support that”.
Recording a narrative verdict Mr Bedford said: “Nicola was not sitting at home suffering in silence, she was seeing a GP.
“No explanation or underlying cause for the vomiting has been identified nor was it thoroughly investigated what it could have been.
“There were investigations [and] doctor input but then [she was] discharged with no follow up to these very similar set of symptoms.
“There were a number of different doctors involved in seeing Nicola which means there was not that continuity.”
He added: “I acknowledge we are in the realms of speculation. It’s not possible to say if something had been done earlier it would have been possible to identify the cause and treat it.”
Although the cause of death was unascertained Mr Bedford said it was “most likely a natural one”.