The family of a pensioner who died following concerns she had a perforated gallbladder have launched a bid for answers over the care she received.

Margaret Legg, 74, was admitted to Dorset County Hospital (DCH) on February 29 2016, a week after falling ill with diarrhoea, vomiting and a swollen stomach.

Mrs Legg's GP suggested that she undergo a CT scan to investigate the cause of the mass felt in her stomach. Hospital staff performed an X-ray and she was diagnosed with gastroenteritis. Mrs Legg, from Wareham, was due to be discharged less than 48 hours after admission, but was re-assessed and deemed not fit to leave.

She was transferred to a ward for the elderly where she remained until she was discharged on March 14.

However, within 36 hours of being home Mrs Legg became unwell and was referred back to hospital. A CT scan on admission confirmed she had a perforated gall bladder, as well as sepsis and peritonitis.

Mrs Legg underwent emergency surgery the following day but sadly did not survive the operation.

Following her death, Mrs Legg’s family have instructed medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care she received from Dorset County Hospital to find out whether more could have been done to help her.

Elise Burvill, specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: "Margaret’s family have been left devastated by her death and feel that more should have been done on both her first and second admission to help diagnose her condition."

Mrs Legg, a retired secretary, lost her husband in 1985. He suffered severe brain damage as a result of a serious car crash in 1981. The couple had two children, Richard and Jacquie. Mrs Legg also had three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren

Richard recalled: “Mum was in an absolutely awful state....she was very frail, had lost a considerable amount of weight and could hardly speak to me.

"After she was admitted into hospital, I queried why she was sent for an X-ray and not a scan, but were reassured that it was the right thing to do."

He added: "During the surgery it was found that the perforation had taken its toll and damaged her organs. It was completely heart-breaking to be told she had not survived."

Following Mrs Legg's death, DCH launched an investigation into her care.

Her daughter Jacquie said: "It has been very hard trying to come to terms with Mum’s death. We cannot thank the surgical team enough as they tried to save Mum but due to the length of time the gall bladder had been perforated, there was irreparable damage.

“We would urge doctors to ensure that they explore all avenues and do everything they can to diagnose a patient’s condition. We don’t want this to happen to another family."

A spokesperson for Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are unable to comment at this stage as this is an active legal case.”