Madhumita Mandal, 30, died of organ failure less than four days after hospital receptionist deemed her to be "not that sick," as reported by investigators. This decision was one of many by staff at Croydon University Hospital in London, England, that ended in the young woman's death.
Mandal was taken to the emergency facilities at Croydon University Hospital by her husband, Prabhanjan Behera, after vomiting for more than four hours one Saturday morning in September 2013.
The receptionist, Triveni Dhavade, referred her to urgent care, which only deals with minor ailments. Dhavade was trained as a pharmacist in India, but reportedly never practiced and had worked at the hospital for 17 years. Her only qualification in the U.K. is as a mortgage advisor.
Behera pleaded for a nurse to attend to his wife, who repeatedly vomited in the waiting room, but Dhavade allegedly could not find one for more than an hour.
Eloise Power, the lawyer representing the family, asked Dhavade how she could not find a nurse to see a sick woman. Dhavade replied, "She wasn't that sick. I wasn't to know that she was that sick."
When a nurse was available and saw the severity of Mandal's condition, she rushed her to the NHS casualty resuscitation room.
When Mandal was finally seen by a doctor, several disagreements between two colleagues forced a junior doctor to refer her to intensive care.
Dr. Jessica Davies said that the emergency department registrar, Dr. Ademola Tokan-Lawal, delayed calling in the medical team, insisting Mandal merely needed fluids for her heart rate to come down. “He said, ‘You can refer if you want but they will not accept her as she is not unwell enough,’ so I made the referral myself,” Davies reported.
Mandal eventually underwent surgery for a ruptured ovarian cyst, nearly eight hours after arriving at the south London hospital.
She died of sepsis and multiple organ failure four days later. Behera said his wife had endemetriosis and had been scheduled to have surgery a few days later to remove cysts.
After Mandal's death, Behera, who was classified as her dependent, could not get his visa renewed had return to India as there were "no compelling and compassionate reasons" for him to stay in the U.K.
Behera has since returned to the U.K. for the investigation into his wife's death.