Pryers Solicitors

Are short doctor’s appointments damaging patient care?

A 22-year-old student was told by a doctor in Luton to buy an inhaler and look up how to use it on YouTube, after complaining of breathing problems.

Shona Pope made an emergency appointment with the out-of-hours doctor at the Medici Medical Centre, when she started to struggle with her breathing.

“I waited an hour to see the doctor and it felt like I was in there for five minutes. She said I was asthmatic and when I asked how to use an inhaler she told me she didn’t have enough time to show me and that I could look it up on YouTube”, said Miss Pope.

Two days later Miss Pope was admitted to A&E at Luton and Dunstable Hospital where she suffered a heart attack.

She spent three days in intensive care. After being induced into a coma doctors found two blood clots in her lungs, which they believe might have been caused by the contraceptive pill.

Miss Pope had pneumonia in her lungs and her heart failed on one side. She now suffers from short term memory loss.

The service that runs the out-of-hours practices, Care UK, said: “After reviewing the doctor’s notes it is clear she spent at least 15 minutes with the patient. She also advised the patient to see her own GP for further investigations. We take all feedback very seriously and urge the patient to contact us directly so that we can address any concerns personally and discuss what was recorded in the consultation notes.”

What is a heart attack?
A heart attack is when the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked. This is usually caused by a blood clot.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
The most common is a pain in the chest. This can feel like a heavy object is being pressed onto you, or like you are being squeezed.

Other symptoms include: shortness of breath, feeling weak and an overwhelming sense of anxiety.

Not everyone experiences the chest pains. Sometimes they are mild and can be mistaken for indigestion.

If you are concerned that you or a loved one are suffering a heart attack, call 999 without delay.

You can read more about heart attacks on the NHS choices website.