A hospital trust has admitted a failure of duty after a much-loved grandmum a mum died of sepsis because it had not recognised and treat a serious complication linked to a kidney injury.

Angela Laybourn was admitted to Harrogate General Hospital after suffering from lack of appetite and dehydration for around a week.

Blood tests showed she was suffering from metabolic acidosis – a build-up of acid in the body. However,  this was not documented when she was assessed on a ward, an NHS investigation report found.

The Northern Echo: Angela LaybournDoctors believed the mum-of-three and grandma-of-five, who had a history of kidney stones, had sepsis caused by a water infection.

Angela, of Ripon, was wrongly sent home three days after being admitted. However, she was readmitted to Harrogate General Hospital two days later. She was incoherent and disorientated.

Further blood tests indicating metabolic acidosis weren’t acted upon. She died aged 62 less than two days after her re-admission.

Following Angela’s death, husband David, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his wife’s care under Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust.

David, aged 64, has now joined his legal team in calling for lessons to be learned after the hospital trust admitted a breach of duty.

An inquest into Angela’s death found she died from sepsis – where the body attacks itself in response to an infection – and metabolic acidosis.

A coroner recorded a narrative conclusion ruling that  – “the significance of the metabolic acidosis was not recognised or treated as such.”

Megan Walker, the specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing David, said: “Angela was a much-loved wife, mum and grandma, whose death has had a profound effect on all her family.

“Sadly, worrying issues in the care she received, and which contributed to her death, have been identified.

“While nothing can make up for what’s happened it’s now vital that the Hospital Trust learns lessons from the issues in this case to improve patient safety for others.

“We continue to support David and his family at this distressing time.”

Angela grew up in Gosforth, Newcastle and attended Kenton Comprehensive. She died in the early hours of 24 January, 2022, after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Her cause of death was sepsis and metabolic acidosis caused by kidney stones.

Following legal submissions by Irwin Mitchell the Hospital Trust admitted that there was a failure to recognise and treat metabolic acidosis following her first admission on 17 January. She shouldn’t have been discharged on 20 January, the Trust acknowledged.

David, who was Angela’s carer for 15 years, added: “The only way I could describe losing Angela was total devastation.

"As a family, we couldn’t believe that she was really gone. The grandchildren were knocked for six. Angela's whole life was based around her grandkids and kids, everything she did was child orientated. She has been taken from all of us.

“The first time that I was aware that Angela had been suffering from metabolic acidosis, was when we received her death certificate. We searched online for the term and were just in complete shock as looking at the symptoms that Angela had they fit the box of metabolic acidosis.

“We just felt let down that no one had picked up on this and that Angela could have been treated for this.

“I miss her all the time. The loss of Angela has created an emptiness in my life which will never be filled. All I can hope for is that by speaking out improvements in care can be made as I wouldn’t want others to go through the pain our family is.”

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“Dr Jacqueline Andrews, executive medical director at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mrs Laybourn.

“We failed to deliver the level of care Mrs Laybourn and her family should have been able to expect and for this we would like to sincerely apologise.

“We are committed to learning from what has happened and are implementing new systems and processes to reduce the likelihood of important blood test results being missed to ensure we do all we can to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.”