Health bosses dispute ruling which suggests Sheffield doctors refused to treat woman who later died of a stroke

Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital
Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital
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City hospital bosses have disputed a coroner's ruling which suggested Sheffield doctors refused to treat a woman who later died from another area of the country.

Teresa Dennett, 58, from Nottinghamshire, died just a week before her birthday from a rare type of stroke - but a coroner has ruled life could have been saved if she had been operated on in time.

Ms Dennett was initially taken to King's Mill Hospital in Mansfield on 9.20am on February 6 last year but after further complications, staff requested a transfer to Nottingham University Hospitals Trust for surgery.

Consultants said to contact again if she got worse and a further CT scan at around 9pm showed increasing pressure in Ms Dennett's head.

A consultant at Nottingham who looked over the scans advised that Ms Dennett should indeed be sent to Nottingham for urgent decompressive surgery.

However, this was blocked by an intensive care consultant who said all the hospital's intensive care beds were full with no likelihood any would become available soon.

The court heard doctors were then advised to ask Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to take Ms Dennett but while registrars at the trust were willing, a consultant there insisted she should be treated in Nottingham.

By 3.30am the next morning it was too late. Ms Dennett had deteriorated too much for surgery and she died later that morning after further attempts to transfer her to Nottingham.

Nottinghamshire assistant coroner Heidi Connor said the consultant in Sheffield who 'refused' Ms Dennett had 'made no attempt' to find out why Nottingham could not take her.

But bosses in Sheffield said staff gave advice under strict guidelines to move Ms Dennett to Nottingham being the nearest neurological centre and for them to perform the operation regardless of bed availability.

Dr David Throssell, medical director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We were so very sorry to hear of the tragic death of Mrs Dennett and no words are enough to describe how devastated her family must be.

"When contacted by Kings Mill Hospital, our clinician gave advice consistent with clinical guidelines from the Society of British Neurological Surgeons which states that surgery should take place at the nearest appropriate neurosurgical centre (Nottingham) as quickly as possible, regardless of any issue with bed availability.

"If Nottingham had confirmed with us that they could not undertake the surgery, as per the clinical guidelines, we would have operated on Mrs Dennett in Sheffield regardless of bed availability.

"We will be discussing with Nottingham and Kings Mill Hospitals the lessons which need to be learned in respect of the use of the clinical guidelines, so that the chances of this happening again are limited."

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