‘Tonsilitis’ killed young mum

Melissa Furnival with daughter Rosie-Leigh
Melissa Furnival with daughter Rosie-Leigh

A TEENAGE mum died three days after being diagnosed with tonsilitis.

Melissa Furnival, 18, of Walters Green Crescent, Golborne, was rushed to Wigan Infirmary by her father David Furnival where she was admitted to hospital and also diagnosed with glandular fever.

Within hours of being taken to Pemberton ward, Miss Furnival who has 15-month-old daughter, Rosie-Leigh, died of viral myocarditis.

Bolton Coroner’s Court heard details of Miss Furnival’s care and observations while at being looked after by Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust – and how the Trust has made changes following lessons learned by her death.

She was checked on every half an hour to see if she was still breathing by nursing assistants and her observations for blood pressure, temperature, pulse and heart rate were also regularly monitored by staff nurses.

While observations should have been totalled to create a score that would determine whether a doctor needed to be called, several times this was not carried out and no record was made.

Miss Furnival was checked on at around 6.50am on April 16 but by 7am was found to have collapsed and nurses then called the Cardiac Arrest team.

CPR was performed on her 12 times until doctors realised nothing could be done to save her.

At the time of Miss Furnival falling unconscious, the Cardiac Arrest team did not have a swipe card to access the room she was staying in - although a nurse was available to let them in.

While none of the hospital’s failings contributed to Miss Furnival’s death, Assistant Director of Infection Prevention and Control Lynda Barkess-Jones informed the court that following the tragic incident, she had implemented changes throughout the hospital.

She said: “Following Melissa’s death, I have implemented changes throughout the hospital. Staff nurses have been retrained and are being monitored so there are no mistakes.

“The Cardiac Arrest team have swipe access to the doors in the ward and I have asked that patient scores follow the patient through the hospital with them rather than lots of different records created on different wards so the information is concise.”

Deputy Coroner Alan Walsh recorded a verdict of death by natural causes. He said: “I have rarely heard such a tragic case of a young lady who has never had any illness throughout her life and has been very healthy.

“I am sure becoming a mother was the making of her and that she cared and loved Rosie-Leigh and I am sure her parents will bring her up to remember her mother.

“I’m grateful to the hospital who accept their failings and am grateful that there has been an enquiry to improve the hospital.”

Mother and Father Jane and David Furnival, added after the inquest: “Melissa was such a lovely daughter who had so much going for her.

“Rosie-Leigh is a lovely little girl and we are thankful to have her to help us remember Melissa who was a great mother to her.

“Although the hospital were not to blame for Melissa’s death, if those changes have been made and they save somebody’s life, then Melissa’s death will not be in vain.

“We miss her deeply and love her so much.”