147,337 members

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Blog

NHS blamed for woman's ‘avoidable’ fly death

 

Blog headlines

  • UK’s National Health Service teams up with the Radio Society of Great Britain to improve health and wellbeing
    4 March 2021

    This week's blog is by Paul Devlin, Emergency Care Improvement Support Team (ECIST), NHS England and NHS Improvement.

  • Structuring a PCN Social Prescribing Service for the post COVID world
    25 February 2021

    This week we have a blog by Nick Sharples.

  • Community-Oriented Integrated Care
    18 February 2021

    The blog this week is a short extract from a paper considering an approach primary care networks could use to move towards community-oriented integrated care.

  • Strategy Unit releases opensource model for planning vaccine centre capacity
    11 February 2021

    This week's blog is from The Strategy Unit who are sharing an opensource model to help with vaccine centre capacity planning.

  • Time to talk day
    4 February 2021

    A small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference.

  • Supporting Staff: the emergence of ‘long-covid’
    28 January 2021

    As we are now well into a second, or is it now the third, wave of Covid-19 it is becoming apparent that Covid is something we have not experienced before and it has unique implications for staff management. It is not just the possibility that staff may become acutely ill with the virus, but that for some they may go on to develop persistent debilitating symptoms that will affect their ability to go back to work. This article looks at the implications of long-covid for HR and service managers when looking to support health care professionals (HCPs) return to work.

  • Link of the week: Clinically-Led workforce and Activity Redesign (CLEAR)
    21 January 2021

    This week we are sharing a link to the Clinically-Led workforce and Activity Redesign (CLEAR) site that is funded by Health Education England.

  • So much more than an extra pair of hands
    14 January 2021

    The introduction of the additional roles reimbursement scheme for primary care networks has started to grow capacity in general practice to address the unsustainably high workload that has put so much pressure on GPs.

  • Primary Care Networks – how did we get here?
    7 January 2021

    This week we are sharing a blog by PCC’s chairman David Colin-Thomé.

  • A year like no other
    17 December 2020

    On 5 July 1948 the NHS was born, over the last 72 years challenges and changes have been remarkable but the service has probably never been tested as much as in the last nine months. There have previously been numerous re-organisations, multiple changes to hospitals, mental health services and a shift from the family doctor towards more integrated primary care services delivered by a range of professionals. However, rapid transformation of services to embrace digital technologies, and a shift change to work differently has been forced upon all areas of the health service this year.

  • Guest blog: David Hotchin
    11 December 2020

    This week we have a guest blog that was submitted to us by David Hotchin, written by a retired friend....obviously, he's used a little poetic licence.

  • What now for commissioning?
    3 December 2020

    By Professor David Colin-Thomé, OBE, chair of PCC and formerly a GP for 36 years, the National Clinical Director of Primary, Dept of Health England 2001- 10 and visiting Professor Manchester and Durham Universities.

  • What White people don’t see
    26 November 2020

    This year’s Black History Month (BHM) has, unfortunately, in its shadow another example of why campaigns like this exist.

  • Primary Care: Why don’t we talk about Racism?
    20 November 2020

    Rita Symons is an ex NHS leader who is now a leadership consultant, coach and facilitator. Her work is mainly in the NHS and she is an associate for PCC offering facilitation, coaching, strategy development and team development activities. She is a concerned but hopeful world citizen and combines work in the NHS with a board role in a non for profit organisation and an interest in writing.

  • Primary Care and the Health of the Public
    12 November 2020

    By Professor David Colin-Thomé, OBE, chair of PCC and formerly a GP for 36 years, the National Clinical Director of Primary, Dept of Health England 2001- 10 and visiting Professor Manchester and Durham Universities.

  • What now for primary care
    4 November 2020

    By Professor David Colin-Thomé, OBE, chair of PCC and formerly a GP for 36 years, the National Clinical Director of Primary, Dept of Health England 2001- 10 and visiting Professor Manchester and Durham Universities.

  • Boosting your resilience
    30 October 2020

    The last year has been a difficult one, who would have imagined last Christmas that we would have been in lockdown, with the NHS seriously tested by a global pandemic. So much change has happened and the resilience of people working in and with health and care services has been seriously tested. Resilience is our ability to deal with, find strengths in and/or recover from difficult situations. Its sometimes referred to as “bounceabiliy” – but bouncing in what way?

  • Link of the week: National Cholesterol Month
    23 October 2020

    Every month or week of the year seems to be an awareness week, October has more than its fair share.

  • New redeployment service offers talent pool of motivated, work-ready individuals
    15 October 2020

    People 1st International have shared some of the work they are doing to support people displaced from industries due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There is an opportunity for health and care services to benefit from this workforce.

  • Link of the week
    9 October 2020

    Article published in the BMJ looking at the ability of the health service to quickly bounce back to pre-Covid levels of activity and considers if it is desirable.

 
 
Thursday, 5 May 2016

NHS blamed for woman's ‘avoidable’ fly death

An enquiry has been launched into the death of a woman who swallowed a fly, following a series of blunders by the NHS and social services.

Neighbours said the woman had first complained of feeling unwell earlier in the week. “I don’t know why she swallowed a fly. I warned her that she could die,” said one, who urged her to go the doctor.

The woman turned instead to the internet, where she read about a traditional remedy on a self-help website.

Later she called NHS 111 worried about “a spider that wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her”. The helpline staff failed to spot the symptoms of a potential fly-related condition and advised her to take two paracetamol.

In a subsequent call to the service, the woman’s claim to have swallowed a bird to deal with the spider was dismissed as “absurd”.

Unable to make an appointment with her GP and twice refused treatment by her local hospital’s A&E department, where staff accused her of time-wasting, the woman embarked on an increasingly desperate series of self-care interventions involving a cat, a dog, a goat and a cow.  

Neighbours finally dialled 999 after hearing neighing and clattering of hooves from the woman’s house, followed by cries for help.

In a statement, the local hospital said:  “A woman in her seventies was admitted last night complaining of severe indigestion having apparently swallowed a horse. She’s dead of course.”

The local coroner ordered a post mortem to establish the cause of death.

Social services’ bosses were at a loss to explain why they had ignored repeated warnings that the dead woman posed a risk to herself and local livestock.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt promised an immediate enquiry into the events surrounding the tragedy.

“Incidents of this kind are completely unacceptable in our NHS. The tragic case of this poor woman underlines the irresponsible actions of the BMA in supporting the industrial action by junior doctors and emphasises once again the vital importance of our manifesto commitment to a seven-day NHS,” he said.

Experts pointed to the dangers of self-administered animal-based treatments. “Anyone who swallows a fly should drink plenty of water and, if symptoms persist, seek medical advice. The unsupervised use of spiders and other predators may exacerbate the problem, leading in extreme cases to serious injury or death,” one said.

Public Health England promised to update its guidance on the public health risks posed by flying insects. A spokesman said: “Our advice to anyone tempted to swallow a fly is very clear: don’t.” 

Poetry editor: Julian Patterson

@NHSnetworks
websupport@networks.nhs.uk

 
david seabrooke
david seabrooke says:
May 06, 2016 09:33 AM

Part of the learning from this incident highlighted the repeated use of the phrase "perhaps she'll die", which caused operators to miss the patient's deteriorating condition and to escalate accordingly. A secondary factor was the repeated failure to understand the underlying reasons for absorbeatur ipsa musca, which in this sad case may now never be known.

Chris Frith
Chris Frith says:
May 07, 2016 01:49 AM

Did 111 exclude the Blandford Fly which is a more frequent cause of hospital admissions,A&E and GP appointments at this time of year particularly in elderly ladies.

Sian Williams
Sian Williams says:
May 11, 2016 09:40 AM

Brilliant smile for a monday morning,it siad it all. Have you thought about how we can help 'The Old Woman who lived in a shoe' ...

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
May 11, 2016 08:05 PM

That's really one for social services, Sian.

david seabrooke
david seabrooke says:
May 11, 2016 10:11 AM

... NHS England announces a new initiative to combat unwanted pregnancies in the footwear community...

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
May 11, 2016 08:05 PM

Growing public health issue