Mum says ‘nothing has changed’ after daughter starves to death in hospital

Laura Jane Booth was born with a rare genetic condition known as partial trisomy 13, which meant she had an extra extra chromosome 13, instead of two

Laura Booth died at Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield

The family of a young woman ‘starved to death’ in the care of hospital staff say ‘nothing has changed’ there in the six years since her death.

Laura Jane Booth was just 21 when she died after a three-year stay at Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield due to malnutrition.

An inquest into Laura’s death found there had been a ‘gross failure of her care’ when it came to managing her diet, Yorkshire Live reported.

Laura was born with a rare genetic condition known as partial trisomy 13, which meant she had an extra chromosome 13, instead of two.

Because of the condition, she lived with complex learning disabilities and was non-verbal – which her mother, Patricia Booth, sees as a contributing factor to the way doctors at the hospital handled her care.

Laura’s mum says there’s not enough change at the hospital



Speaking six years after Laura’s death and with coroner Abigail Combes concluded the hospital acted ‘unlawfully’ in decisions it made about Laura’s diet, the 62-year-old said that little had changed.

“The coroner has ruled Laura’s death illegal, but what does that mean to them?” Mrs. Booth said.

“Because they just got back to work. Laura had learning disabilities and complex medical conditions, they were trying to blame it all the time.”

At an inquest into Laura’s death, Ms Combes said she remained “seriously concerned” about experienced doctors’ understanding of mental capacity law.

At the time, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said they acknowledged Laura’s diet decisions “were a contributing factor at the time of her death” and were “truly sorry”.

A recent Care Quality Commission investigation found that patient safety at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital is “inadequate”.

The report, which was released earlier this month, also found that all other hospital services “required improvement” and that failures were causing “avoidable harm” to patients.

Ms Booth said: ‘The report really stuck with us for six years, we weren’t surprised but to see it on paper you think ‘they didn’t learn the lessons’, they said that they were going to learn lessons from Laura’s death but they didn’t learn.

“Laura passed away in 2016 and it’s no different, it’s just as bad.

“Nobody was responsible for it, all the doctors got away with it and that’s what really annoyed us. It’s been six years in October since we lost Laura and six years later there’s no still has no responsibility for it.”

Patricia said Laura was in the care of Sheffield Children’s Hospital for 18 years before being transferred to adult care at Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

She praised the staff at the children’s hospital and said the care Laura received was “fantastic”.

She added: “They were fantastic and I have so much admiration for this hospital. The doctors always included us in everything; they told Laura everything, they told her what was going on and what they were going to To do.

“We were like a team, we all worked with the doctors there and it was fantastic.

“But, in Hallamshire, they told us ‘we don’t do that here’ and they don’t freeze together.

Laura with her parents Patricia and Ken



“Things like that for our Laura didn’t work out, Laura was only there for three years and then she left.”

After Laura’s death, her mother and father, Kenneth, 65, campaigned tirelessly for better care for people with complex needs like Laura’s.

Posting to their ‘Justice for Laura Jane Booth’ Twitter account, the couple said: ‘We have no words to describe how we feel about why this trust is allowed to continue to run Sheffield hospitals with an insufficient security clearance.

“Nothing make sense anymore”.

Ms Booth added: “All we’ve ever wanted to do is try to stop families from going through this heartbreak that we’ve been through, it still hurts as much now as it did then, because we’re going through it. loved so much and she was our life.

“If we can stop a family from going through this, then we will.”

Responding to the CQC report, Kirsten Major, chief executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are all devastated by the outcome of the inspection as there is not a single person within the Trust who does not does not want to do the right thing for our patients and has not worked hard to try to offer this in exceptional circumstances.

“That’s why we take this very seriously and I will do everything in my power to support our staff and make the improvements we need.

“We have already taken steps that will help us improve, including hiring over 500 new nurses who are now working on the wards, and there have been changes to our maternity wards, including investing in more midwives. women.

“We are also in the process of purchasing a new electronic patient record system which, once implemented, will be less expensive for staff to use and will bring together different patient information in one place.

“We have listened to feedback from staff and the CQC and are simplifying many of our processes, including how incidents are reported and risks are managed so that we can be more responsive and share learning faster than at the current time.

“Everyone within the Trust has given their all over the past two years to manage the demands of the pandemic and we are determined to address the issues raised in this report with the same commitment.”

Ms Major added: “I want to assure our patients that our top priority will always be to do our best for everyone who needs our care. We are delighted that the CQC felt that our staff treated patients with compassion. and kindness, worked as a team for the benefit of patients, were committed to improving services, and that we had enough medical staff to care for patients and keep them safe.

“They also recognized that leaders were helping staff develop their skills and that infection risks were well managed. Our treatment outcomes, mortality rates and patient feedback reflect this, but there is no denying that the last two years have transformed what we’ve done as a routine on his head so much.

“We have asked our staff to take on unprecedented challenges and change the way they work almost daily as Covid rises and falls in waves.

“We have had fewer staff at times including when the inspection took place due to high staff COVID illness and there is no doubt that some of our normal ways of working or providing care have suffered. because of the focus we needed to have on managing the immediate crisis ahead of us while continuing to provide emergency and cancer care and as many planned surgeries as possible and leading the program of vaccination for South Yorkshire. »

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