A WIDOWER who lost his wife to sepsis has spoken of his family’s “never-ending helplessness” in knowing her death could have been avoided after an NHS Trust admitted liability for her death.

Grandmother Margaret Alley, of West Moors, died on New Year's Eve in 2015 at the age of 76, more than a month after she was admitted to Southampton General Hospital for spinal surgery.

Following her operation on November 23, staff failed to accurately record the appearance of her wound and dressing changes on eight occasions before they realised she was suffering from an infection.

By that time, she had developed sepsis and pneumonia. Margaret died from multiple organ failure.

The University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability for her death after Margaret’s husband Robin instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers to investigate her care.

The Trust admitted that Margaret’s nursing records, charting her surgical wound, dressing changes and types of dressing used were ‘substandard’ on eight occasions, between 23 November and 14 December.

It also admitted that staff did not accurately complete fluid intake and output forms and failed to comply with fluid restrictions set by clinicians.

The Trust also added that a lack of a spinal wound care plan, monitoring, a lack of accurate records and a failure to escalate Margaret’s condition contributed to her infection, the development of sepsis and subsequent death.

Robin said: “We appreciate that hospital staff are extremely busy but for medical records not to be accurately recorded on so many occasions is astonishing.

“Our family will never get over how Margaret was badly let down by those who were supposed to look after her.”

Following Margaret’s death, the trust said it had introduced new procedures including daily reviews for spinal patients and reviews being recorded in patient notes.

It said training had also been given to spot the signs of sepsis and nursing staff are now expected to escalate families’ concerns about the deteriorating condition of patients.

Juliet Pearce, deputy director of nursing at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The care Mrs Alley received in 2015 fell well below the standards we strive to provide for our patients and we have expressed our apologies and deepest sympathies to her family.

"Along with hospital trusts across the country, we have introduced a number of measures over the past three years to raise awareness of the dangers of sepsis and ensure it is identified and treated more quickly."

World Sepsis Day is September 13. For more information about the condition and symptoms visit sepsistrust.org.