THE widower of a diabetic woman who died because she was not given a simple blood test has spoken of his concerns that the same tragedy could be repeated after the nurse in charge of her care was not struck off at a Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing.
Widower David Pitt has called on Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to confirm exactly what steps have been taken following Margaret Pitt’s death in November 2010 to protect the safety of other diabetic patients.
The 55-year-old, from Redditch, had lived with type one diabetes for 30 years, but suffered an irreversible brain injury and died after the nursing team at the Alexandra Hospital failed to implement a thorough care plan that would have seen her glucose levels monitored and acted upon accordingly.
Lead nurse Jackie Charman admitted failing to make the necessary checks at an hearing in London last week, which culminated in her receiving a five-year caution order and told she must do further training if she returns to work.
She was not struck off the register, however.
The hearing was the final conclusion in Mr Pitt’s long battle for justice, which in August last year saw him receive an undisclosed settlement and formal apology from the trust.
It followed an admission of liability that there was a failure to check his wife's blood glucose on two occasions after she had been admitted to hospital.
The trust also admitted had these checks taken place her death would have been avoided.
Mr Pitt, 63, married to his wife for 35 years, said: “I think of Maggie every day and will never take for granted the priceless things she gave me. Not just three wonderful children, but just as importantly, the very best years of her life.
“My family and I are frustrated, hurt and disappointed as we have been given no reason about why the Nursing and Midwifery Council made the decision not to remove Jackie Charman from the nursing register.
“We hoped we would get closure in the hearing, but knowing she can be in charge of other patient’s care again leaves us struggling to move on.
He added: “The trust has repeatedly said that lessons have been learnt, however we have not been told exactly what action has been taken to improve the treatment diabetic patients are offered.
"We feel that this is the least we deserve – nothing can bring Margaret back, but knowing her death was not in vain will give us some peace of mind.”
Sara Burns, from the family's lawyers Irwin Mitchell, added: “We are disappointed for Mr Pitt and his family that they did not get the result they wanted at the hearing.
“From investigating the failures relating to Mrs Pitt’s care, while Jackie Charman was the lead nurse and made a series of undeniable errors, she was also not the only individual at fault."
A spokesman fromWorcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust offered their condolences to Mrs Pitt's family.
“The nurse in question no longer works for our trust," she said.
"We took action to improve care following this case. We continue to invest heavily in diabetes services both in our hospitals and in the community.”