Meningitis death: hospital criticised

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The Independent Online
AN INVESTIGATION into the death of a university student from meningitis has criticised the hospital care she received.

Charlotte Simpkin's name was spelled incorrectly on Southampton General Hospital's computer, which meant that doctors never saw the outcome of vital tests. The hospital trust's medical director admitted yesterday that 18-year-old Ms Simpkin, of Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, might have survived if staff had been aware of the results.

Ms Simpkin, a history student at Southampton University, was admitted to the hospital on 30 October last year. She was given antibiotics, but these were discontinued when blood tests showed no sign of meningitis. Further tests were done the next day, but a doctor was unable to access the results because of the spelling error. She was prescribed antibiotics after her condition worsened but she died on 2 November.

Ms Simpkin was one of three students to die of meningitis last year in the biggest single outbreak of the disease at a university. An inquest in January criticised the hospital's level of care as "wholly inadequate".

Southampton University Hospital Trust commissioned the external review, whose findings were published yesterday. The trust's medical director, Dr Harry Millward-Sadler, said that action was being taken to make sure the same mistakes never happened again.

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