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Severe Dehydration and Medical Mistakes Lead to Death of WWII Gran

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 17/06/2013

A catalogue of medical mistakes at Leicester Royal Infirmary led to the death of Lydia Spilner, an-100 year Second World War refugee.

A series of medical mistakes

In January 2013, the 100 year old great-grandmother of 2 developed breathing problems. It was suspected that she had a chest infection with possible fluid on the lungs and so doctors prescribed her water tablets. One of the effects of the medication was serious dehydration.

As the month went on her speech became slurred and so her worried family took her to the hospital. Initially, the A&E doctors put the great-grandmother on an IV drip and in a short space of time she was looking a lot better.

However, problems began to arise when she was moved to a ward specialising in elderly care.

Hospital neglected World War 2 Gran

During her 4 weeks at Leicester Royal Infirmary, Mrs Spilner's condition went downhill.

Staff persistently failed to provide her with water, neglected her personal hygiene needs by leaving her in urine soaked sheets and took up to 10 days to re-administer the drip. But by this point it was too late.

Her only daughter Nora Spilner, visited her every day while in the Leicester Royal Infirmary. She described a time when she found her mother lying on the floor with no nurses around to help. She had no idea how long she had been lying there.

Her grieving daughter also told of how her mother had developed "horrific" mouth ulcers from the medical treatment she was receiving which made it difficult for her to eat. However, she was never provided with any soft food and her complaints of hunger were brushed off.

Hospital Trust admits Medical Mistakes

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS trust have admitted their medical mistakes, confirming that Mrs Spilner died of kidney failure caused by dehydration.

They went on to say that even though they have actively made changes to improve care, they appreciate that this will not bring back the great grandmother of 5 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

With similar cases being noted at the hospital, and the numerous failings at Mid Staffordshire Hospital, it has been suggested that elderly care needs to be pushed up the care agenda.

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