Medical Negligence :: Woman died from septicaemia after haemorrhoids surgery in UK

A UK primary care trust made a public apology to the family of a patient who died from multiple organ failure due to severe flaws in the care provided by an out-of-hours GP service.

Multiple organ failure or multiple organ dysfunction syndrome is altered organ function in an acutely ill patient requiring medical intervention to maintain homeostasis. Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome is the presence of altered organ function in acutely ill patients such that homeostasis cannot be maintained without intervention. It usually involves two or more organ systems.

Journalist Penny Campbell, 41, from London, developed septicaemia after a minor operation to treat haemorrhoids and died less than a week later. In the four days before her death, she contacted her surgeon, spoke to six on-call GPs by telephone and saw two doctors in person.

Hemorrhoids (AmE), haemorrhoids (BrE), emerods, or piles) are varicosities or swelling and inflammation of veins in the rectum and anus. Hemorrhoids are common. It is estimated that approximately one half of all Americans have had this condition by the age of 50, and that 50% to 85% of the worlds population will be affected by hemorrhoids at some time in their life. However, only a small number seek medical treatment.

None diagnosed her condition and she died in hospital the morning after she decided to go a hospital casualty department. An inquiry into her death found a series of flaws in the UK health system of after-hours healthcare.

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