Why was our daughter allowed to die like this?

The family asked us to publish this photograph of Kayleigh Compton just before she died at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

The family asked us to publish this photograph of Kayleigh Compton just before she died at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

  • Kayleigh (23) lost half her body weight before slipping into coma
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The mother of a young woman, who weighed only five stones when she died, is demanding a public apology from Peterborough City Hospital after new revelations into her care.

Kayleigh Compton died at the age of 23 at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, on February 20, 2013, two days after being sent there by Peterborough City Hospital.

Kayleigh Compton as her mother, Angie, remembers her.

Kayleigh Compton as her mother, Angie, remembers her.

Concerns raised by Kayleigh’s family immediately after her death resulted in three reviews of her care by Peterborough City Hospital.

However, it took until November 2014 for the family to receive a letter of apology.

It apologised for gaps in Kayleigh’s medical records, lack of regular weighing and recording of fluid intake and output, failing to ensure a call bell was within easy reach and agreed that a “do not attempt resuscitation” form had been incorrectly completed.

However, the family called for their own independent review with the help of Healthwatch, which found evidence of an incorrect Community Nutrition Screening Tool (MUST) score and failure to identify Kayleigh as being “at high risk of the complications of malnutrition”.

She was hardly recognisable and weighed just five stone when she died. If she had been given nutritional drinks from the start when we first took her to the doctors she might have survived

Mum Angie Compton

The review concluded Kayleigh was “a very undernourished woman with selenium, vitamin A and D deficiency whose nutritional support was not started 
immediately and she unfortunately died”.

Her mother, Angie, of Whaplode St Catherine, said: “It was heartbreaking to watch a beautiful ten stone young woman who loved fashion lying in a hospital bed in a coma.

“She was hardly recognisable and weighed just five stone when she died. If she had been given nutritional drinks from the start when we first took her to the doctors she might have survived.

“That is what we are trying to find out. It isn’t enough to just have a letter saying sorry, we want a public apology.”

The independent reviewer outlined Kayleigh’s medical history, including chronic back pain since at least May 2012, depression, eczema and pyelonephritis (liver infection).

The review said she was admitted to Peterborough City Hospital on January 24, 2013, collapsed on February 14 and died six days later.

Cause of death was stated as “hypoxic brain injury from sustained epilepsy”.

The pathologist noted her “fatty liver” condition, which Mrs Compton said caused her to be sick whenever she ate and resulted in her being “so frail she became unable to walk”.

Mrs Compton said: “She didn’t eat meat and enjoyed vegetables cooked in olive oil. But what she thought was a healthy diet was making her sick and causing her the chronic back pain.”

Referring to Kayleigh’s time in hospital, the review said: “Her ideal management would have been to have started the naso-gastric feeding as soon as she came in.

“A dietician saw the patient on January 25 2013 and wrote in the notes ‘inappropriate referral’. This may have been based on the incorrect MUST score but was clearly incorrect.

“The patient declined an enteral feeding tube until February 13, 2013, when nasogastric feeding was started. It has not been thought that there was any reason to invoke the Mental Capacity Act and start compulsory feeding.”

A coroner’s inquest at the time did not question the care given by the hospital and stated Kayleigh had rejected medical advice on a number of occasions, including discharging herself.

Yesterday, Stephen Graves, chief executive at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We acknowledge the findings of the independent report which was carried out by a clinical expert in gastroenterology.

“The conclusion of the report stated the Trust should take action to improve staff’s use of the screening tool which determines malnutrition in adults.

“Since we received Mr and Mrs Compton’s original complaint in 2013 we have undertaken extensive education with staff in relation to using this particular screening tool and we continue to do that with the support of our nutrition nurse specialists to continually improve in this area.

“However, the report also acknowledges that Miss Compton declined the offer of an enteral feeding tube for the first three weeks of her admission to Peterborough City Hospital.

“It also concluded that the same tragic outcome was likely to have occurred in any UK hospital.

“We would again like to extend our condolences to the Compton family for the tragic loss of their daugter.”