THE family of a disabled woman who died after all her teeth were removed at Kidderminster Hospital has started a legal claim for negligence.

Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, which runs the dental service at Kidderminster, said a serious incident investigation into Rachel Johnston's death has now been completed and a wider review is underway.

Ms Johnston, who lived at Pirton Grange Care Home near Pershore, underwent a dental operation in October as a result of severe tooth decay.

The family of Ms Johnston, who was left severely disabled after contracting meningitis as a baby, said they had not wanted doctors to remove all 19 of her teeth in one operation under general anaesthetic.

The 49-year-old’s condition worsened the day after being discharged from Kidderminster Hospital, and she spent days on a life support machine before her devastated family were told medics could not do any more to save her.

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The family, who described her as “always happy, always loved”, took the decision to take her off life support, and she went on to die of her injuries.

Caron Heyes, from Fieldfisher solicitors, which is to represent the family at her inquest this August and in the civil claim, said the law around consent clearly states doctors must discuss all material risks with patients.

Ms Heyes said doctors were expected to take into account family’s concerns when making treatment decisions so her mum Diana, from Evesham, should have been closely consulted on the best treatment for her daughter.

“Prior to surgery, Diana clearly stated that she did not think complete extraction was the right option,” Ms Heyes said.

“She was never told the risks of general anaesthetic, nor was she asked if Rachel had previously had a general anaesthetic or her reaction to it.

"Even after surgery, medical staff still did not tell Diane how many teeth they had removed.

"She only found out after a Learning Disabilities Mortality Review investigation was launched.

"We are also investigating why Rachel was treated as a day patient and not kept in overnight for monitoring following the surgery.”

A statement on behalf of Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and NHS Wyre Forest Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We would like to express our condolences with Ms Johnston’s family for their loss.

"Both trusts have completed internal serious incident reports which is usual in a case like this and are also participating in the wider review led by the CCG looking at the care provided by all of the agencies involved.

"We will continue to work with those providers to fully understand the circumstances around Rachel’s death.”