Grandmother and former NHS worker died after medics placed feeding tube into her lung

A grandmother who worked for the London Ambulance Service for 25 years died when medics accidentally put a feeding tube into her lung and failed to spot it for more than 10 hours.

Maura Irwin, 77, had the nasal feeding tube misplaced into her lung after suffering a debilitating stroke, which then filled up and killed her, an inquest heard.

Maura’s daughter, Kathryn Scully, who is represented by London law firm Osbornes Law, said her family had to watch her “slow and painful death” as a result of the “betrayal” by NHS staff.

Recording a narrative verdict, coroner Andrew Harris concluded: “She died from injury caused by feeding through an undetected misplaced nasogastric tube for more than 10 hours.

“The failure to check the position of the tube after the second desaturation or ensure she received timely medical assessment then contributed to her death.

“This was a death from unintended consequences of necessary medical treatment and subsequent omissions in care.”

Ms Irwin, who lived in New Cross, was admitted to King’s College Hospital in Camberwell February 2018 after suffering a debilitating stroke.

The feeding tube was wrongly misplaced into her lung two days after she was admitted. This caused her death three weeks later.

Maura’s daughter, Kathryn Scully, 59, said: “Mum was a wonderful, independent and passionate woman who was loved deeply by her family.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t miss her. Mum loved her job with the NHS where she worked for 25 years, staying way beyond retirement age to care for others, but she was cruelly let down by the service with the ultimate betrayal.

“No patient in the care of any medics nor family should ever have to experience such a horrendous ordeal.”

The trust has apologised for Maura’s death, but Kathryn said: “As a family we are tired of the NHS saying they are sorry for our loss as those words don’t mean anything without actions.”

Nicholas Leahy, a specialist medical negligence solicitor from London law firm Osbornes Law, said: “Maura gave 25 years of her working life to the NHS but in her time of need they failed her.

“The trust identified 18 separate actions that would be implemented after Maura’s death, but her family now need to know what has been done to make sure another person does not die in the same painful way as her. Only then will they feel that her avoidable death wasn’t in vain.”

King’s College Hospital has been contacted for comment.

Pictured top: Maura Irwin

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