Nan’s ‘needless’ death by flesh-eating bug

Suzanne Gardner with her grandson Christopher
Suzanne Gardner with her grandson Christopher

A grandmother-of-six died from a rare flesh-eating bug because doctors were too slow to operate, the High Court has heard.

Suzanne Gardner, 60, died three days after contracting deadly necrotising fasciitis, having slipped on snow on her driveway in Blisworth and cut her arm.

Her widower, Colin, claimed doctors had failed to diagnose and operate in time and is suing Northampton General Hospital for negligence.

The hospital’s NHS Trust has apologised to the family for ‘failures and delays’ in A&E but denies liability for her death.

A High Court hearing was told the infection quickly moved up Mrs Gardner’s arms and into her chest. She died at Christmas 2010.

But her family’s lawyers said the popular receptionist’s death could have been avoided if hospital staff had examined her sooner and amputated her arms in time.

Despite being in excruciating pain, she was not deemed a top priority when she went to A&E and, by the time she was diagnosed and the operation began, it was too late, the court heard.

Mr Gardner said given the choice of life or death, the devoted grandmother would have had no problem agreeing to a double amputation if that had been offered earlier.

He said: “She loved life. Her pride and joy were her children and grandchildren. She never walked away from problems.”

The family’s barrister, Gerwyn Samuel, said the hospital’s NHS Trust was negligent in not making her a higher priority case.

Although its barrister, Tom Gibson, apologised to the family for ‘failures and delays’ in A&E, the NHS Trust denies liability for Mrs Gardner’s death.

She presented at the hospital with only ‘moderate’ pain and so was given the correct priority status, it asserts.

The hearing continues.