“Catastrophic event” precipitated death of Andrea West, a mother-of-six from Hempton, near Fakenham, inquest told

Andrea West.

Andrea West. - Credit: Submitted

A 'catastrophic event' whose precise cause is unknown precipitated the death of a mother-of-six just days after going into palliative care, an inquest heard.

Andrea West, 35, who was suffering from cervical cancer, died on September 20, 2012 just five days after being admitted to the Priscilla Bacon Lodge (PBL) in Norwich to control her symptoms.

A three-day inquest into her death in Norwich heard on Tuesday that Mrs West's family had been surprised by her rapid deterioration, and her death had sparked claims she had been placed on an end-of-life treatment plan, or Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP).

PBL consultant Dr Katie Soden told the inquest yesterday she first saw Mrs West three days before her death. She said that, although she had appeared to be brighter the following day, she was 'clearly very unwell. She felt she was going to die. She was a lady with a very advanced cancer.'

Her next involvement with Mrs West was on the morning of September 20, when she told the inquest: 'A catastrophic event of some kind had happened overnight before 6.30am. There was a dramatic deterioration. 'Any number of events might have happened. I suspect a bleed of some sort within the pelvis. She looked as if she would die within hours. No treatment at the N&N could have helped, she was not a candidate for surgery, and CPR would have been ineffective. We were following the principle of best practice in caring for a dying woman.'

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She said Mrs West, who lived at King George Road, Hempton, near Fakenham, was never on the LCP.

However, the inquest heard that Mrs West's GP, Andrew Smith had written a letter stating she had been put on the LCP during her final days at PBL.

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Following her death, another consultant Dr Philip Wilkins told Mrs West's husband, Christopher that patients with advanced diseases such as Mrs West's could deteriorate rapidly.

A post-mortem examination was carried out and the cause of death was given as carcinoma of the cervix.

The inquest was adjourned to midday today when assistant coroner for Norfolk, David Osborne will give his conclusions.

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