BOSSES at NHS Borders have been told to apologise to the family of a woman who became deaf and contracted sepsis during treatment at Borders General Hospital.

The patient, who has not been named by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, was admitted to the hospital after breaking her hip during a fall.

Mrs A, as she is referred to by the watchdog, only has hearing in her right ear.

But after developing sepsis during the recovery from her hip operation, an antibiotic was administered that can cause further hearing loss.

In the days after her treatment Mrs A developed a bowel obstruction which required surgery and a few days further on she suffered a heart attack.

By the time the patients was discharged from hospital six weeks later she had lost all of her hearing.

The woman's family were angered about the use of the antibiotic as well as not being told of her heart attack.

And her daughter took their grievances to the Ombudsman.

A spokesman stated: "She complained about Mrs A's care and treatment and said that the antibiotic she had been given had led to her hearing loss.

"She also complained about poor communication and, amongst other things, not being told of Mrs A's heart attack."

After taking independent professional advice the Ombudsman concluded the risk of using the antibiotics was justifiable due to the patient's condition.

But during the investigation they found that Mrs A hadn't been screened for sepsis following her hip operation or provided with a detailed assessment.

The spokesman added: "We found that Mrs A's operation had been performed promptly and without any problems but that afterwards, when her temperature and National Early Warning Score - an aggregate of a patient's vital signs such as temperature, oxygen level, blood pressure, respiratory rate and heart rate which helps alert clinicians to acute illness and deterioration - began to rise, no specific action was taken as it should have been.

"In relation to communication, we found that staff had not told the family about Mrs A's heart attack or made a plan to address or discuss Mrs A's communication needs, with no review of this taking place.

"We considered that the board's communication was unreasonable and upheld this aspect of the complaint."

NHS Borders has now been ordered to apologise for not screening the patient for sepsis and not carrying out a full assessment.

And the authority has been told to also say sorry for the communications failures.

A spokeswoman for NHS Borders told us: “The SPSO findings highlighted that some aspects of care that Mrs A received were unacceptable.

"We have accepted the recommendations identified and have started to make the changes required so that similar experiences are avoided in the future.

"We are very sorry for the additional upset that our failings have caused her family at an already difficult time and have offered a full apology.”