Coroner blasts hospital doctors and GPs who missed signs of the deadly sepsis in a five-year-old mother’s death.

  • Sarah Dunn, 31 years of age sought medical help after her condition deteriorated following a termination
  • Blunders was a way to say that no one noticed she had a serious, life-threatening illness.  
  • When she was first admitted to the hospital, doctors assumed she was suffering with Covid.

One coroner criticised hospital and GP doctors for failing to recognize signs of sepsis in the mother of an infant who was killed by severe complications from her abortion.

Sarah Dunn was desperate for help, her health had deteriorated since March 2013 when she lost her job.

Despite a series of blunders, no GP nor pharmacist was able to spot that the patient had a potentially life-threatening condition. 

An inquest found that the hospital misdiagnosed Covid as the cause of her admission. She was also delayed in receiving antibiotics.

Miss Dunn died in her early morning hours from organ failure caused by sepsis. Her children were aged between eleven and two.

Over ten days Sarah Dunn (above), 31, desperately sought help as her health deteriorated after a termination in March last year

Sarah Dunn (above) sought urgent help after her 31-year-old health began to deteriorate following a March termination.

Louise Rae was appointed Blackpool coroner. She found that Miss Dunn’s death resulted from neglect. 

The coroner said although there were ‘gross failings’ in her hospital care and ‘basic failings’ on the part of two GPs and a pharmacist, no organisation or individual was singularly guilty of neglect. 

Their collective actions resulted in Miss Dunn being neglected throughout her time of care. 

Miss Rae said: ‘I am staggered that numerous medical professionals in primary and secondary care did not consider the possibility of sepsis, particularly in view of the fact Sarah had recently undergone a medical termination.’

Miss Dunn’s mother Marie said: ‘Sarah knew she was very ill and kept asking for help. The doctors let her down in the worst possible way and now we all have to try to find a way of living without her when we are broken by her death.’

After suffering from bleeding after an abortion one week prior, Miss Dunn sought assistance on April 1, Blackpool Town Hall reported. However, Dr Sanjeev Maharaja took blood tests and the results were positive.

On April 9, eight days later, she called back to complain about stomach pains, nausea, and sweating. 

When the mother-of-five was admitted to hospital, medics wrongly assumed she was suffering from Covid and there was a delay in getting her antibiotics, an inquest heard

The mother of five was wrongly diagnosed with Covid. She was then admitted to hospital. An inquest was held.

These are symptoms of sepsis – blood poisoning triggered by an infection. Anthony Lynn, a pharmacist, spoke with her and set up a meeting with Dr Maharaj on the following day.

Miss Dunn was in pain and called 111. Dr Nishan Karaunasekara answered the phone. 

The coroner was informed by him that he was aware Miss Dunn was visiting her GP. Doctors were reluctant to send patients to the hospital during Covid’s peak. Miss Dunn fell to her death at home around 8 a.m. and called for an ambulance.

She was diagnosed with Covid upon her arrival at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. It wasn’t until 5.30pm that she was given antibiotics. She passed away the next day. 

Dr Maharaj’s barrister, Richard Smith, said no one knew if Miss Dunn had an infection when he saw her on April 1.

Liz Hackett of the trust hospital said that staff had behaved in good faith.