Man who died from salmonella 'wasn't taken to hospital early enough'

Retired retail manager, 63, who died from horrendous salmonella infection after eating four duck eggs he bought at a country show ‘wasn’t taken to hospital early enough after paramedic wanted to prevent sickness outbreak’, report finds

  • Niptoon Tavakoli, 65, ‘wasn’t taken to hospital early enough’ after 999 calls
  • Report found that paramedic ‘wanted to prevent sickness outbreak’ at hospital
  • Mr Tavakoli died from one of the worst salmonella infections ever seen after eating four duck eggs he bought at a village show days earlier
  • A man who died from one of the worst salmonella infections a medic had ever seen after eating four duck eggs ‘wasn’t taken to hospital early enough after paramedic wanted to prevent sickness outbreak’, a report has found.

    Niptoon Tavakoli, 65, made three 999 calls in around 85 minutes complaining of sickness and diarrhoea in June 2019.

    During two of the calls he told call handlers ‘I need help very quick’ and ‘I’m in trouble,’ an ambulance service investigation said.

    But when an ambulance crew arrived at his house in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, a paramedic believed he had gastroenteritis.

    The medic decided not to take him to hospital to prevent a sickness outbreak, the report found.

    Mr Tavakoli had fallen ill after eating duck eggs he bought at a village show days earlier.

    A report has found that Niptoon Tavakoli, 65, ‘wasn’t taken to hospital early enough after paramedic wanted to prevent sickness outbreak’. Pictured with his wife Cheryl

    A report has found that Niptoon Tavakoli, 65, ‘wasn’t taken to hospital early enough after paramedic wanted to prevent sickness outbreak’. Pictured with his wife Cheryl

    He was displaying ‘amber’ signs of sepsis which sees the body attack itself in response to an infection.

    It was only when his wife Cheryl dialled 999 three days later that Mr Tavakoli was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with salmonella.

    His condition continued to deteriorate and he died in hospital two months later from multiple organ failure.

    Following his death, lawyers acting on behalf of Mrs Tavakoli, 63, investigated her husband’s illness and the care he received from Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS).

    The trust admitted liability for Mr Tavakoli’s death and a serious incident report found ‘it would have been appropriate’ to take him to hospital when the crew first visited him.

    An inquest jury held this week concluded Mr Tavakoli died of natural causes.

    The inquest heard that Mr Tavakoli bought six duck eggs in Messingham, Lincolnshire, and fried the first two without incident, but he fell ill after a second meal.

    An intensive care specialist told Doncaster Coroners Court Mr Tavakoli was only the second person he’d come across with this degree of salmonella.

    Speaking after the inquest, Mrs Tavakoli said: ‘It’s almost impossible to find the words to describe the impact Niptoon’s death has had on our family.

    ‘He was such a caring and fun person who loved spending time with his family and friends but also antique hunting and collecting coins.

    ‘The last three years and trying to come to terms with what happened has taken a toll on all of us.

    Niptoon Tavakoli, 65, made three 999 calls in around 85 minutes complaining of sickness and diarrhoea in June 2019

    Niptoon Tavakoli, 65, made three 999 calls in around 85 minutes complaining of sickness and diarrhoea in June 2019

    ‘Trying to grieve has been made all the harder because of having so many unanswered concerns.’

    Mr Tavakoli made three 999 calls between 1.50pm and 3.15pm on June 7, 2019 — five days after eating the eggs — complaining of sickness and diarrhoea.

    During the second he had a ‘massive headache’ and told the call handler ‘I need help very quick’, the report said.

    During the third call he reported he had food poisoning, a high temperature, and chest pains adding ‘I’m in trouble’, the Ambulance Service report added.

    Mr Tavakoli’s case was upgraded to a category two call meaning paramedics should arrive within 40 minutes.

    A note advising it was a possible sepsis incident was added for the ambulance crew to review.

    A crew arrived just after 4pm and found Mr Tavakoli in bed. He told them ‘that he felt his organs were shutting down’, the report said.

    But following tests, the crew left around 30 minutes later.

    Mrs Tavakoli called 999 on 10 June, 2019, after her husband complained he was aching and had no strength. He also had a mottled rash on his legs and arms.

    The same crew who visited Mr Tavakoli three days earlier arrived and took him to hospital.

    Mr Tavakoli was admitted to critical care but died on 12 August.

    The Ambulance Service report also found Mr Tavakoli was taken to hospital by ambulance on June 10 under normal road conditions.

    However, given his condition and how he was by then showing red flag symptoms of sepsis, it would have been appropriate to have blue lighted him as an emergency, while pre-alerting the hospital.

    An investigation by Public Health England found the source of Mr Tavakoli’s salmonella was from the duck eggs he bought.

    It found another person in the West Midlands had also fallen ill with the same strain of salmonella but had recovered.

    Doncaster Coroner’s Court was told Mr Tavakoli arrived at hospital at 10pm but did not receive antibiotics until 11.30am the following day.

    Sepsis guidelines stated he should have commenced antibiotics within an hour of arrival.

    However, the court heard the delay would not have made a difference to the outcome.

    But when an ambulance crew arrived at his house in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, a paramedic believed he had gastroenteritis. The medic decided not to take him to hospital to prevent a sickness outbreak, the report found

    But when an ambulance crew arrived at his house in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, a paramedic believed he had gastroenteritis. The medic decided not to take him to hospital to prevent a sickness outbreak, the report found

    Mrs Tavakoli is now calling for lessons to be learned following the death of her husband, who was also a stepfather to Andrew and Paul.

    And she hopes to raise greater awareness of the dangers of sepsis and salmonella as Mr Tavakoli — who had worked in the catering industry — knew the importance of food hygiene.

    She said: ‘We feel we need to speak out to raise awareness of the dangers of not only salmonella but sepsis.

    ‘People have probably heard of sepsis but I’m not sure everyone is fully aware of how dangerous it is.

    ‘Niptoon had worked in the catering business for years so knew the importance of good hygiene, safety standards and knew how to cook duck eggs.

    ‘That he contracted salmonella even with his knowledge shows that other could fall ill after eating them.

    ‘We just want to try and make people aware as we wouldn’t want another family to go through what we have.’

    Yorkshire Ambulance Service said it had arranged training for staff and had updated its policies and sepsis screening tools based on National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and UK Sepsis Trust advice.

    Catherine Slattery, expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: ‘The effects of gastric illnesses such as salmonella should never be downplayed.

    ‘In Niptoon’s case it led to him developing sepsis which is an incredibly dangerous illness; however, the condition can be beaten if diagnosed and treated quickly.

    ‘While it’s too late for Niptoon and his family, we welcome that the Ambulance Service has taken measures to improve sepsis awareness among its staff.

    ‘However, it’s vital that lessons continue to be learned to improve patient safety for others.’

    Signs of sepsis include slurred speech, confusion, extreme shivering and muscle pain, passing no urine in a day, severe breathlessness and mottled or discoloured skin.

    A spokesperson for Yorkshire Ambulance Service said that their thoughts remain with the family of Niptoon Tavakoli following his death in 2019. 

    ‘The Trust contributed to the Coroner’s inquest and fully accepts the findings of the jury at Doncaster Coroner’s Court,’ they said.

    ‘From the outset, we have acknowledged that the clinical care provided to Mr Tavakoli in June 2019 fell below the high standards we pride ourselves on. 

    ‘We are deeply sorry for this and extend our sincere condolences to Mrs Tavakoli and her family.’