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This article was published on October 6th, 2016
A grieving widow is to sue The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust and the Private Ambulance Service Ltd company for compensation after numerous errors from staff resulted in the avoidable death of her husband.
The couple who live only a short distance from a specialist heart unit, contacted the emergency services after the 54 year old husband started to feel pains in his chest and down his right arm. They checked the symptoms online and suspected a heart attack and so called for an ambulance straight away.
The widow explained: “… was on his hands and knees on the sofa speaking to 111. He was able to talk but he was obviously in discomfort.”
The East of England Ambulance trust dispatched an ambulance but due to high demand they sent a private ambulance team and it was this crew that failed to correctly diagnose that her husband was suffering a heart attack.
The ambulance crew didn’t have a paramedic on board and person who misdiagnosed the heart attack was an emergency technician who had only received her qualification certificate a few days before. The crew did carry out two heart traces which showed an abnormal ECG which was written down at the time. According to the widow, there was a discussion from other crew as to the diagnosis.
The widow said:
“When ….. asked, ‘What do you think it could be?’ ……. asked him what he did for a living.
“He explained he went into lofts as part of his job and she thought he could have pulled a muscle, or that he might have indigestion.
“Then she said, ‘We can take you to the hospital but you will have a 10-hour wait.’
“She said that three times, as if it were unnecessary for him to go.”
The husband signed documentation which confirmed the agreement that they decided not to go to hospital on this occasion and they then left. The widow then went to the chemist to get indigestion and painkiller medicine but the symptoms did not reduce.
That evening the couple slept separately as the husband was feeling very uncomfortable and did not want to wake his wife. She woke in the morning to her husband making strange snoring noises and went she went in he died in front of her from a heart attack, 10 hours after his first symptoms were identified.
The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust conducted their investigation into the tragedy and found numerous failures on behalf of the Trust and the ambulance crew and apologised to the widow for her loss. The lack of a fully trained paramedic was the real issue as they would have quickly identified the problem and insisted on admitting him to hospital following the ECG results.
As a result of the incident, the regulations for private ambulance crew in the East of England Trust area have been highlighted to ensure that any private crew without a paramedic on board must admit a patient to a hospital, or phone the clinical advice line to explain the reasons why the patient can be discharged.
“He should be here with me now, because this was all unnecessary and now I’ve got to find a way of living without him, and I don’t want to.”
If you or a loved one has been unfortunate enough to have experienced poor medical care from medical staff then contact us now at Thorneycroft Solicitors today for a free no-obligation assessment of your case on 0800 1979 345 or complete our online enquiry form.
Our medical negligence solicitors are dedicated to maximising the compensation for medical negligence available on a no win – no fee basis.