Disabled girl, 12, who was left in NHS hospital until rigor mortis set in died after catalogue of failings by medical staffEmma Stones died of blood poisoning at Tameside General Hospital in February 2011Care she received from medical staff was 'inadequate' and 'simply not acceptable', coroner rulesHospital staff failed to monitor Emma properly because they were 'busy', inquest hearsEmma's body was 'ice cold' when her father saw her, even though staff told him she had only just diedNurse was suspended for one month and given a warning before resuming her job
01:50 GMT, 7 August 2012
Victim: Emma Stones died in hospital following a catalogue of errors by medical staff who provided a level of care that was 'inadequate' and 'simply not acceptable', a coroner ruled
A coroner last night condemned a
hospital after hearing a girl may have died in her bed and then been
left by staff for so long she developed rigor mortis.
John Pollard said it was ‘simply not
acceptable’ that Mike Stones, 59, should find his 12-year-old daughter
Emma stiff and cold to the touch – despite being told by staff she had
died minutes before.
An inquest heard that as well as not
being given a blood test, Emma had not been monitored in the early hours
by nurses, who also failed to take her blood pressure.
Mr Pollard said the inadequate
treatment Emma received played a part in her death from septicaemia at
Tameside Hospital in Greater Manchester.
He added: ‘If the observations
had been performed more accurately and the treatment had been instigated
at an earlier stage, the likelihood is that Emma would have survived.’
Last night her parents, Mr Stones and
his wife Tracy Futcher, 42, said they were considering legal action
against the hospital.
They added: ‘Something has to be wrong if this can
happen in an NHS hospital. We insist that lessons are learned for the
wider NHS as well as Tameside and that people are held to account.
‘Emma was a lovely girl who we all
loved very much. She deserved much better care than what she actually
'No child should be neglected in the way that Emma was, let
alone a child with a mental handicap like Emma.’
The schoolgirl, who
lived with her parents and twin sister Christina in Dukinfield, Greater
Manchester, was taken to hospital on February 6, 2011, suffering from
But hospital staff failed to diagnose a
bacterial infection because they were too busy to carry out basic blood
tests and neglected to check on her properly.
Disgusted and appalled: Parents Michael Stones and Tracy Futcher (left), are to take legal advice after a coroner ruled that their daughter Emma, pictured with her twin sister Christina (right), would have survived had her care not been so poor
The hearing was told how Emma’s blood
pressure was never taken as it should have been under hospital policy.
team of three nurses failed to monitor her regularly throughout the
night – she should have been observed every four hours.
Emma’s father said that when they
arrived at the hospital at 8.30am after being called there by staff, a
doctor said: ‘Emma’s heart has just stopped, she has just died.’
But Mr Stones, who was Emma’s
full-time carer, said she was already ‘stiff as a board’.
told them at the inquest in Stockport that nurses’ evidence suggested
their daughter could have been dead or dying as early as 4.30am.
Tariq Mahmood, medical director at
Tameside Hospital, said: ‘We acknowledge that the standard of care which
we gave Emma was not acceptable.’
Mr Pollard recorded a narrative verdict.
Failings: Staff at Tameside General Hospital did not monitor Emma properly and skipped important checks
'Lovely girl': A picture of Emma (left) and her twin sister Christina (right) as babies