A YOUNG dad battling the “flu” died just 10 hours after doctors mistook deadly sepsis for a chest infection.
Father-of-one Paul Hardy, 35, was referred for an x-ray after two trips to the doctor in a matter of days.
He was sent home with antibiotics and told to rest up but later that night his wife, Rachel Hardy, found him dead as she was putting their nine-year-old daughter to bed.
Tests later showed Paul, from Biddulph in Staffordshire, had died from sepsis – a condition that causes the body’s immune system to attack itself.
Now, his devastated family want doctors to learn from the mistakes made so another family doesn’t have to suffer the same loss.
North Staffordshire Coroner’s Court was told Paul visited Biddulphdoctors Primary Care Centre twice in the four days before his death after falling ill with flu-like symptoms in February last year.
Just 10 hours after being sent home with antibiotics Paul’s wife, Rachel, found him dead
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The inquest heard he was not showing signs of infection and his illness was thought to be a virus.
He was advised to rest and take over-the-counter remedies and went to bed believing he had flu.
But over the weekend his condition became worse and he suffered a high temperature, chesty cough, aches, vomiting and diarrhoea.
On Monday, February 20, he returned to the surgery and saw a different nurse who checked his temperature, heart rate, oxygen levels and listened to his chest.
Paul leaves behind his nine-year-old daughter, Gabriella
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The nurse diagnosed a chest infection, prescribed antibiotics and referred Paul, who was asthmatic, for a chest x-ray at a walk-in centre.
She claimed when she saw him he did not show sepsis symptoms and believed he was going to go for the x-ray straight away.
But Rachel said her husband was advised he could not have an x-ray until his temperature had gone, so they went home “He was restless. At 6pm I took him some food. I propped him up and fed it to him,” Rachel said.
“When I walked in [later at 8.10pm] I knew he wasn’t breathing.
“He was lay there like he was asleep. I rang an ambulance and his mum and I started CPR.”
Paul was pronounced dead at 8.48pm.
A post-mortem examination revealed he had an abscess on his lung, which was partly collapsed.
The cause of death was given as sepsis due to streptococcus pneumonia with abscess formation.
Sepsis causes the body’s immune system to go into overdrive as it tries to fight an infection.
Sepsis causes the body’s immune system to go into overdrive and begin attacking itself
Without quick treatment, it can lead to multiple organ failure and death.
Biddulphdoctors senior partner Dr Philip Turner said Paul’s death as a “tragic, tragic case”.
He said: “The evidence suggests it was a streptococcal infection and it was very progressively aggressive.
“I can’t see anything obvious that my colleagues haven’t done that I think they should have.”
All front-line surgery staff have received sepsis training since Paul’s death.
North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith said he believed the sepsis and Paul’s collapsed lung had developed after he had been seen by the nurse on February 20.
“My reading of the situation is that, at that time, he didn’t have the abscess formation to the extent it was later, he didn’t have the collapsed lung,” he said.
“That must have occurred afterwards.
“He was still sitting up and eating, albeit supported, at 6pm.
“He went to sleep and a very significant event occurred which took his life. I don’t think it is right to criticise anyone for what happened.”
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