May 21, 2013
A hospital being investigated over high death rates "missed opportunities" to save the life of a disabled woman, according to the health Ombudsman.
Tina Papalabropoulos, 23, died in Basildon Hospital in Essex in 2009.
When Miss Papalabropoulos went to the hospital after it was thought food had got into her lungs the doctors did not treat her condition, the report said.
The trust which runs the hospital said it had made significant improvement to the care and treatment it provided.
The trust was criticised for allowing her to eat and drink, failing immediately to administer antibiotics and for not considering moving her to the "high dependency" unit.
"We found that (Tina's) doctors had missed any opportunity there might have been - however small - to save her life by providing earlier and more intensive treatment for her," the Ombudsman said.
The report also criticised an out-of-hours GP for refusing to visit Miss Papalabropoulos, whose medical conditions included learning disabilities and epilepsy, in the run-up to her hospital stay, despite a plea from her mother.
Christine Papalabropoulos not only criticised those who were supposed to be caring for her daughter but said she believed too many doctors viewed people with learning disabilities as merely leading an "existence" and not having a life.
"Vulnerable people like my daughter have been suffering this kind of care for decades," she said.
"They see it as 'this is not a life, this is just an existence', so they do not use all of their expertise.
"That's wrong. This child is loved by all the people, family and friends they come in contact with.
"This child is a human being. They just happen to be born with a disability."