Mum-of-six dies 72 hours after going to A&E with flu-like symptoms and foot pain

A probe has been launched after a mum-of-six died 72 hours after going to A&E with flu-like symptoms and a pain in her foot.

Natalie Billingham is among 54 patients whose deaths over a six month period at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley are being investigated.

The 33-year-old died in March from a form of sepsis after initially going to hospital with complaints of flu symptoms, Birmingham Live reports.

And an inquest heard how Ms Billingham was "climbing the walls in pain" while she was waiting to be treated in A&E.

She contracted sepsis from a rare bug, but an early warning score was miscalculated and there were delays in starting treatment.

Her children – including a nine-month-old – are now being brought up by Ms Billingham’s mother, Marina Tranter.

She sobbed: “Natalie’s left six children and one only nine months old – who is never ever going to know her mum.

"I hate them for what they’ve done. They’ve destroyed me and my family."

Recalling the ordeal, Ms Tranter added: "She was on and off the trolley, it was horrific.

"They had given her morphine. I went and asked if she could have anymore and they said they couldn’t give her anymore yet.

"Her leg was still different colours, like a mottled effect, gone up to her calf and shin.”

The Care Quality Commission inspected Russells Hall in June and then began an investigation into a total of 54 deaths at the hospital.

Heidi Smoult, deputy chief inspector of hospitals in the Central region, said: “We have had ongoing concerns about the emergency department at Russells Hall Hospital and were extremely concerned at what we found during our inspection."

The commission found sepsis patients’ records had been misreported.

Some were left in the waiting room for over an hour without being seen and one was left “oozing blood”.

A full report will be published later this month.

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Russells Hall Chief executive Diane Wake said: “We have increased significantly the number of nursing staff. We have recently appointed two new consultants to the department and one of those consultants have taken on the clinical lead role.

"We are confident that working with him, we will take the department forward and improve the safety of the emergency department here."

Dudley Group NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said it had the region’s lowest mortality rate and had appointed a new clinical lead for urgent and emergency care.

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