The family of a sickle cell patient who died suddenly after being taken into hospital have described her as a ‘beautiful person’ who never let her illness stop her enjoying life.
University student Nadine Kerr died at New Cross Hospital after going into ‘crisis’ as a result of the hereditary disease that causes the red blood cells to sickle in shape, resulting in ongoing health problems.
But the 34-year-old’s family told an inquest held in Walsall that they had concerns over her care at the Wolverhampton hospital, after a post mortem found that an existing heart condition was the main cause of death.
Pathologist Dr Manel Mangalinka said the cause of death was sudden cardiac death, an enlarged heart and sickle cell.
She told the hearing that Miss Kerr, of Thornton Road, East Park, Wolverhampton, had been diagnosed with heart problems before she died.
Miss Kerr’s mother Juliet Abrahams told the hearing: “The doctors were more concerned with the sickle cell crisis.
“I believe that they could have being doing more. She was in pain. I saw her telling the doctors that she was having pains in her chest.”
Dr Mangalinka replied that she was not a clinician and was not involved in Miss Kerr’s treatment and could not answer some of the family’s questions.
But she said: “Sickle cell is a long standing illness that goes on. If a patient goes into crisis that is like another illness. Doctors have to control the sickling first before anything else.
“The heart situation had not happened overnight, but during her life.”
Black Country Coroner Mr Robin Balmain told the family: “This is a very distressing illness and as the doctor says the effects are lifelong and can affect all of the organs of the body.
“I propose to record cause of death as natural causes.
“If you want to pursue the other matters with the hospital, you can do that.
“I’m sorry that this has happened to you.”
Miss Kerr was studying for a social policy degree at Birmingham University when she died.
She had previously trained as a hairdresser and as a youth worker and had worked at Wolverhampton College’s Bilston campus as a security officer.
Mrs Abrahams told the Express & Star: “Nadine was a beautiful, lively, vibrant person, she was very popular in the community.
“She was loveable and crazy at the same time.
“She didn’t let her illness stop her from enjoying life.
“She was family-orientated.
“She had sickle cell all her life, but never let it beat her, despite the discomfort it brought.
“We will be contacting New Cross to raise our concerns because we feel there were signs that she was deteriorating.”
A spokesperson for The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust said: “Our thoughts and sympathy are with Nadine’s family.
“We would urge them to contact us through our complaints system so we can investigate and discuss their concerns.”