A retired NHS ambulance service worker suffered a "slow and painful death" watched by her family after multiple failings in her hospital care.

An inquest heard that Maura Irwin, 77, from New Cross, had a nasal feeding tube misplaced into her lung as she received treatment at Kings College Hospital (KCH) following a stroke in February 2018.

Medics failed to notice their mistake more than 10 hours, which filled her up and killed her.

Daughter Kathryn Scully said Maura was a "wonderful, independent and passionate woman who was loved deeply by her family," but that her family were forced to watch her agonising death after a "betrayal" by NHS staff.

News Shopper: Maura Irwin.Maura Irwin.

She was "cruelly let down" by the NHS and slowly drowned, and Kathryn, 59 from Lincoln, said had had to fight for months to get answers.

Maura, who lived in New Cross in south east London, was a grandmother and formerly worked as NHS ambulance service worker for 25 years, but was taken to KCH after suffering a rehabilitating stroke.

The feeding tube was wrongly misplaced into her lung two days after she was admitted. This caused her death three weeks later.

News Shopper: Maura IrwinMaura Irwin

Recording a narrative verdict Coroner Andrew Harris concluded: “She died from injury caused by feeding through an undetected misplaced nasrogastric tube for more than ten hours.

“The failure to check the position of the tube after the second desaturation (5pm) or ensure she received timely medical assessment then contributed to her death.

"This was a death from unintended consequences of necessary medical treatment and subsequent omissions in care.”

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has apologised for Maura's death, and a spokesperson for the trust said: "The care provided to Mrs Irwin was far below our expected standards, and we offer our heartfelt apologies to her family.

"We have learnt lessons from what happened, and implemented all of the actions arising from the investigation.

"We also continue to monitor our NG tube practices to minimise the likelihood of this happening to other patients."

Maura’s daughter, Kathryn Scully, 59, from Lincoln, said: “Mum was a wonderful, independent and passionate woman who was loved deeply by her family.

"There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t miss her. Mum loved her job with the NHS where she worked for 25 years, staying way beyond retirement age to care for others, but she was cruelly let down by the service with the ultimate betrayal.

“Medics misplaced the nasal feeding tube into her lung resulting in food filling up her lung and drowning her. It was like watching somebody getting smothered and being powerless to stop it.

"As a family we had to witness her dying a slow and painful death as she could not breath properly and was in agony. No patient in the care of any medics nor family should ever have to experience such a horrendous ordeal.”

The family were represented by London law firm Osbornes Law.

Nicholas Leahy, a specialist medical negligence solicitor from London law firm Osbornes Law, said: “Maura gave 25 years of her working life to the NHS but in her time of need they failed her.

"The trust identified 18 separate actions that would be implemented after Maura’s death, but her family now need to know what has been done to make sure another person does not die in the same painful way as her. Only then will they feel that her avoidable death wasn’t in vain.

"The trust must work hard to ensure that the omissions in care which were identified in this case must never happen again”