‘Sorry Gillian’ – Dr Partha Kar’s latest blog post
“It was a wholly avoidable and tragic death of a vulnerable patient admitted to hospital for care but who died because of a lack of it”… so said Mr Justice Haddon-Cave while pronouncing the verdict on the case of Gillian Astbury. If you don’t know that name by now, then throw away all the leaflets you have collected about “safe patient care”, the courses you have attended learning about the 6 Cs or even joyfully pledging to be part of NHS Change Day. Because if you don’t know that name then all of what you have done are gimmicks and you have learnt nothing.
Gillian Astbury, was a 66 year old lady who dies in 2007 in Mid Staffordshire hospital because of not being given her insulin. She was the lady whose case Francis reviewed and criticised the Health and Safety Executive, whose case finally provoked the HSE to bring criminal prosecution against the Trust- which concluded with the judgement as above associated with a fine of £200,000. I won’t go through the details of what the Francis report said but it cannot get any more damning. To all those who say Mid Staffs was over-reported, I say read this case and then suggest have a humble moment- and then reflect how different it is to Mel Gibson’s drunken rants about the Holocaust.
But you know what’s astonishing? Even today 7 years later, even after the Francis report, these occurrences are regular. Ask any diabetes team inside a hospital; ask patients who are afraid to go to the hospital…reason? Diabetes still continues to be an ignored pathology within hospital trusts. Look at the National Inpatient audit results..and the results are stark. Evidently education will solve all- I can absolutely assure you it doesn’t-sadly.