Wigton woman dies after ulcer treatment delay

Cumberland Infirmary
Image caption Tessa Harker died at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary in March 2016

A 21-year-old woman died after doctors initially failed to spot she had a stomach ulcer, an inquest has heard.

Tessa Harker, from Wigton, died from a heart attack after suffering sepsis as a result of a perforated ulcer.

She complained of excruciating stomach pain, but doctors thought she had severe pancreatitis.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said lessons had since been learned and actions put in place to further improve patients safety.

The inquest in Cockermouth was told that Ms Harker, a care worker, saw five different doctors at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary over a three day period in March 2016.

When a CT scan was taken - the day before she died - it revealed a 7cm square hole in her stomach.

'Care fell short'

Assistant coroner Dr Nicholas Shaw recorded a verdict of death by natural causes exacerbated by delays in treatment.

An internal review carried out by the trust found warning signs that Ms Harker's condition was deteriorating were missed.

Following the ruling, Stephen Eames, chief executive at the trust, said: "I wish to extend my sincere apologies and deepest sympathy to the family of Tessa Harker.

"It has been recognised through our investigations and in the inquest that the care provided to Tessa fell short of what we would expect.

"As a direct result of this incident, lessons have been learned and a number of actions have been put in place that we believe will further improve patient safety at the trust."

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