'Best care in the world' would not have saved adored Chesterfield mother, inquest hears

A much-loved Chesterfield mother who had 'very severe' sepsis would not have survived even with 'the best care in the world', an inquest has heard.

Friday, 30th August 2019, 8:37 am
Chantelle Woodhead. Picture contributed by family.

Forty-five-year-old Chantelle Woodhead passed away at Chesterfield Royal Hospital after her condition deteriorated rapidly within the space of ten hours.

On Friday, following a three-day inquest, coroner Peter Nieto concluded that the adored mother-of-two died of natural causes after influenza triggered a 'severe systemic inflammatory response' in her body.

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Chantelle Woodhead. Picture contributed by family.

Mrs Woodhead was the landlady and manageress of several pubs in the Chesterfield area - including the Terminus, the Brampton Mile and Isis Noir - before she gave up work to care for her grandfather and then raise her daughters.

Chesterfield coroners' court heard Mrs Woodhead was visited by two separate ambulance crews on January 20 last year - first in the afternoon and then in the evening - after suffering from flu-like symptoms for a number of days.

The inquest was told the first ambulance crew found Mrs Woodhead's observations - including her blood pressure - to be 'largely normal' in the afternoon and she was not taken to hospital.

Mrs Woodhead, of Newbold Road, was very poorly by the evening when the second ambulance crew visited her.

The paramedics' observations raised the possibility of sepsis - which is a life-threatening reaction to an infection - and they took Mrs Woodhead to Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

She sadly died during the early hours of January 21, an hour after being admitted.

Dr Katherine Lendrum, a consultant in emergency medicine at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, was working when Mrs Woodhead was brought in.

She said: "My first impression was she looked like she was dying.

"It was very shocking to see a young lady in such a state.

"She deteriorated very rapidly.

"With the best care in the world, I don't think she would have survived.

"It was tragic - it was a very hard event for everyone."

Dr Alastair McCrirrick was asked to conduct an independent investigation following Mrs Woodhead's death.

He said: "Had Chantelle been taken to A&E in the afternoon, it's entirely possible she would have been seen, examined and discharged.

"Her physiological observations were largely normal at this time.

"She may or may not have been admitted."

Dr McCrirrick concluded: "This is an incredibly tragic case, a situation where a relatively young patient deteriorated very rapidly.

"Had she been transferred to hospital in the afternoon, I think, on the balance of probabilities, her death would not have been prevented."

Dr McCrirrick added that Mrs Woodhead was 'definitely suffering from very severe sepsis' that evening.

The inquest heard Mrs Woodhead was put in the ambulance at around 10.45pm on January 20 and arrived at Chesterfield Royal Hospital at 11.20pm. Blue lights were not in use.

However, Dr Lendrum said she did not believe the delay 'would have made a difference'.

According to hospital records, the second ambulance crew did not inform doctors that Mrs Woodhead possibly had sepsis, the inquest also heard.

Coroner Peter Nieto said: "East Midlands Ambulance Service says it's learned lessons and implemented changes following Mrs Woodhead's death.

"I can't find there were any contributory factors or issues that made Mrs Woodhead's death an unnatural death.

"I conclude her death was due to natural causes.

"The court notes that it is very rare for a relatively young person with no serious health problems to die as a result of influenza."

Mr Nieto offered his condolences to Mrs Woodhead's loved ones at the end of the inquest.

After Mrs Woodhead died, Mr Woodhead told the Derbyshire Times: "She was the best person to be with.

"Everyone loved Chantelle.

"She was very outgoing and doted on her children.

"It's hard to think they'll have to grow up without their wonderful mother around."

For more information about sepsis, visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/sepsis