Devastated family welcome changes after Newport theatre stalwart Desrae Tucker's death
10:07am Thursday 5th December 2013 in News
THE family of a Newport woman who died following surgery welcomed changes to hospital guidelines brought in after her death.
Desrae Tucker, aged 68, died of a blood clot two days after she was discharged from the city’s Royal Gwent Hospital.
At an inquest yesterday, Gwent Coroner’s Court heard that staff failed to record for several days whether she was given compression stockings to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis.
Deputy coroner for Gwent Wendy James found that although the lapse in records was unlikely to have contributed to the death, it was a concern and she would write to Aneurin Bevan Health Board about it.
Mrs Tucker was taken to A&E with stomach pain on March 12 this year and diagnosed with gallstones. She was moved to a ward and after antibiotics did not help, doctors operated to remove her gallbladder as the infection was life threatening.
She was discharged on March 24 but died at home suddenly of a pulmonary embolism on March 26.
Ms James returned a narrative verdict of death arising from recognised complications following a necessary surgical procedure.
While in A&E, Mrs Tucker was prescribed anti-embolic (compression) stockings and an anti-coagulant. However, after transfer to a ward the anti-clotting medication was not given until the following day and the stockings were only recorded as given on March 15, three days later.
Mrs Tucker’s daughter Lara Gatling said someone had visited her mother at every visiting period but no-one had seen her with the stockings.
However, Dr Carolyn Middleton, an investigating officer from Aneurin Bevan Health Board who carried out a report into the death, said the ward sister confirmed Mrs Tucker had received the stockings.
Dr Middleton said new guidelines would be issued requiring nurses at Aneurin Bevan hospitals to sign their name each time the stockings were provided.
Her son Chris Tucker said: “The only thing positive we can get from this is it might prevent other people having the same situation. The coroner is saying she’s going to write to the chief executive with these issues. Hopefully that will happen and proper procedures for making sure these prescribed treatments are carried out will happen.”
Mrs Tucker, from Penhow, grew up in Newport and was deeply involved with the city’s theatre scene. She was a president of the Rotary Club and taught English literature and drama at Duffryn High School, Bettws High School and Brynmawr Comprehensive School, where she also became deputy head.
Daughter Lara Gatling described her mother as “very active, always doing things for people. Her life was a service to others”.
Ann Kelly, a friend of 30 years, added: “Her death left a big hole in a lot of people’s lives.
“We can’t apportion blame, there’s no point. But she lived a full life and a useful life and we all miss her terribly.”
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