‘Mum would still be here if they’d operated sooner’

Donna Tomkins with a picture of her mum Lynda Beech, who died four years ago
Donna Tomkins with a picture of her mum Lynda Beech, who died four years ago

A Bognor woman who fought a four-year battle with St Richard’s Hospital over her mum’s death after surgery has spoken of her anger.

Donna Tomkins’ mother Lynda Beech, 62, from Gilbert Road, Chichester, died of sepsis after a gastric bypass in 2013 but a negligence case concluded last month that doctors could have spotted complications in time to save her.

The hospital trust has apologised over the death of Lynda Beech, who was 62

The hospital trust has apologised over the death of Lynda Beech, who was 62

In 2016 the hospital trust that runs St Richard’s admitted Mrs Beech’s condition should have led to a second emergency operation happening sooner but it took another year to settle the case.

Mrs Tomkins said: “They just left my mum.

“If they’d just operated 20 hours before, she’d still be here today, that’s what hurt the most when it came out.

“The surgeon was busy doing other surgeries all that day.

“My mum kept deteriorating and they kept saying it’s just gas and air from the operation.”

After registering a complaint with the hospital trust, Mrs Tomkins said she went to the ombudsman and finally took up a civil case through a solicitor.

In March 2016, the NHS Litigation Authority agreed Mrs Beech’s condition should have raised ‘serious concerns’ of possible sepsis.

A doctor consulted by Mrs Tomkins’ lawyers also advised her mum could have lived another 18 years had surgery been successful.

Mrs Tomkins said she was not interested in compensation and was angry it had taken so long to get to the truth.

She said: “I haven’t had time to grieve for my mum yet because I’ve been so busy fighting the case, it’s taken over my life for four years.”

Dr Timothy Taylor, medical director at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs St Richard’s said: “We would like to extend our sincere condolences to Mrs Beech’s family and express once again how sorry we are for what happened while she was in our care.

“The Trust was grateful for the opportunity to meet with the family to discuss what happened.”