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Positive people Listeria death ’caused by hospital sandwich’, inquest hears


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Positive people Listeria death ’caused by hospital sandwich’, inquest hears

Image copyright Google Image caption Brenda Elmer ate the contaminated sandwich while a patient at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester A woman died after eating a hospital sandwich contaminated with listeria, an inquest has concluded. For several days Brenda Elmer’s family had thought the 81-year-old was recovering from an operation, Crawley Coroner’s Court heard.A blood…

Positive people Listeria death ’caused by hospital sandwich’, inquest hears

Positive people

positive people St Richard's Hospital in Chichester

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Google

Image caption

Brenda Elmer ate the contaminated sandwich while a patient at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester

A woman died after eating a hospital sandwich contaminated with listeria, an inquest has concluded.

For several days Brenda Elmer’s family had thought the 81-year-old was recovering from an operation, Crawley Coroner’s Court heard.

A blood test from Mrs Elmer’s GP took several days to come back and the results were inconclusive.

Mrs Elmer is one of six people whose death is linked to sandwiches supplied to 43 NHS trusts.

The pensioner, who had breast cancer, was at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester for an unrelated operation when she ate the contaminated chicken mayonnaise sandwich, the West Sussex Coroner, Penelope Schofield, was told.

She was discharged on 3 May.

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PA Media

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Brenda Elmer’s husband Alec Elmer (centre) and her son Jonathan Elmer (right) both spoke during the inquest

Mrs Elmer’s son, Jonathan Elmer, said his mother had felt weak as she recovered from the operation at home in Chevening, Kent, but the family had no idea the reason for her condition was listeria.

He said: “It is certainly something that goes through your mind.

“To this day I do not know if an earlier diagnosis may have been of any benefit.”

Positive people ‘National outbreak’

A blood test from Mrs Elmer’s GP took several days to come back and the results were inconclusive.

Mrs Elmer was rushed to hospital in Tunbridge Wells on 2 June after she became unresponsive.

Once back in hospital, she was tested again and the results returned positive for listeria. She died in hospital on 17 July.

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The coroner said an information “black hole” for patients discharged to areas outside the hospital’s trust area may have prevented Mrs Elmer’s family from getting her early treatment.

Mrs Elmer’s widower, Alec Elmer, said: “Had we been aware earlier, that blood test would have been an emergency blood test. As it was, it took three or four days to get the results through.”

Dr Timothy Taylor, medical director for Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – which runs St Richard’s Hospital – said when the hospital became aware there was a “substantial” risk that Mrs Elmer had eaten a contaminated sandwich, he contacted his counterpart at her local hospital in Kent.

The coroner concluded Mrs Elmer died from complications associated with a listeria infection from a contaminated sandwich as “part of a national outbreak”.

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