'I watched my mum bleed to death and it left me traumatised for life'

Peggy's daughter Maria with a photo of her parents
Peggy's daughter Maria with a photo of her parents -Credit:LancsLive

A woman was left traumatised after watching her mum bleed to death in hospital. Margaret Clement - known as Peggy - died at the Royal Blackburn Hospital in June 2022 after suffering a massive gastrointestinal bleed.

The 92-year-old had been admitted to hospital after falling and breaking her hip which Peggy's family believe was caused by the underlying abdominal condition. This week a coroner has criticised chronic under-staffing and failings at Pendle Community Hospital after nurses failed to alert doctors to Peggy's deteriorating condition.

When medics realised that Peggy was bleeding internally they had taken her for an endoscopy to locate its source and it was as she was waiting for the procedure when Peggy's heart stopped. Maria's daughter Rebecca recalled the moment she and her mum were sitting in the café at the Royal Blackburn Hospital when they were told Peggy was dying.


Rebecca said: "I saw a nurse come around the corner. She grabbed my shoulders and said ‘Run, now. Gran is dying in endoscopy’. So we ran...

"I ran down the corridor and we burst into the endoscopy room. Gran was in a bay, as a nurse pulled back the curtain, I knew she was gone. My mother screamed and hit the floor, nurses rushed to console her and sat on the floor with her for what felt like hours.

"I stood over Gran, clinging to her, questioning if this was real. I’d gone to the shop to get her a ‘bit of chocolate’ that she was going to have after her endoscopy, and just sat in the café. How was she dead?!

"When I looked up, I saw a nurse at the bottom of the bed in floods of tears.

"The whole room was in shock. All the nurses were crying, or distressed. Patients wondering what the heck had happened. You go for an endoscopy, you don’t expect anyone to die.

"My mother witnessed her gushing blood from her mouth, and the effects of that will never leave her. Mum has been through therapy, but two years on, she seems just as traumatised. Even today, most people she meets, she recounts the story, because frankly, she just isn’t over it.

"If we had been told Gran had been bleeding and how long it had been going on my mother wouldn’t have lifelong trauma.

"But above all else... Gran may have had dignity in her death. Not forced to sit in pools of blood, experiencing painful and traumatic vomiting of blood. She may have got to say goodbye to the people she loved, and, in our opinion, she could have survived."

Peggy with her late husband Jim
Peggy with her late husband Jim -Credit:Family photo

Area Coroner Chris Long is now set to issue a Prevention of Future Deaths report after hearing concerns about staffing at Pendle Community Hospital as well as the nurses' failure to alert doctors to Peggy's condition.

Returning a narrative conclusion, the coroner said: "Margaret Clement died on 15 June 2022 at Royal Blackburn Hospital, Blackburn. Following a fall, Mrs Clement was admitted to hospital where a fractured neck of femur was diagnosed and operated upon on 23 May 2022.

"Mrs Clement was prescribed anticoagulation following the operation to reduce the risk of clotting. She was discharged to Pendle Community hospital for rehabilitation on 10 June 2022.

"She had suspected melaena in the evening on 12 June 2022. She then developed significant rectal bleeding in the morning of 14 June 2022 and was admitted to Royal Blackburn Hospital following vomiting blood later in the evening.

"An upper gastrointestinal bleed was then diagnosed which led to a cerebrovascular accident from which she did not recover."