Pryers Solicitors

Paramedics Delay in Taking Patient to Hospital Results in £10,000 Settlement for Widow

In 2002 *Mr Smith* began to suffer from breathing difficulties and irregular heartbeats. He visited his GP on a number of occasions and was referred to hospital. The hospital carried out an ECG and it was confirmed that Mr Smith did have irregular heartbeats but there was no explanation given for this. He was prescribed beta blockers which settled the symptoms.

However, later that year Mr Smith was again admitted to hospital with similar symptoms but much worse. Tests were carried out and Mr Smith was diagnosed with emphysema. Mr Smith was taken off beta blockers and put on alternative medication to help with breathing. He was also referred for sessions with the respiratory doctor every six months.

In August 2003 Mr Smith was referred to the cardiology department as he was suffering severe pain in his heart. Another ECG was carried out and showed that he was suffering sinustachycarida due to using a broncodilator. Medication was given to alleviate the symptoms.

In Summer 2007 Mr Smith had his last appointment with the respiratory doctor and was informed that he would need oxygen at home to assist his breathing.

In December 2007 Mr Smith suffered a chest infection and was admitted to hospital for a period of four days where he was given antibiotics and had tests which again showed an irregular heartbeat.

In Mid January 2009, Mr Smith returned to hospital suffering a further chest infection for which he was prescribed antibiotics. A chest x-ray was carried out and did not show any abnormalities.

In June 2008, Mr Smith was having great difficulty breathing and his wife telephoned for an ambulance. The paramedics examined Mr Smith at his home and refused to take him to hospital, advising that he should carry on with his antibiotics and oxygen.

Two days later, Mr Smith awoke in a worse condition. He was so weak that he could not dress himself and was fighting for breath. An ambulance was called and he was taken to hospital by the paramedics. Mrs Smith was advised that Mr Smith should have been taken to hospital two days previously when Mr Smith had first become ill.

Mr Smith underwent a number of tests and investigations and was diagnosed with a weakness of the heart muscle, which was slightly enlarged. Mrs Smith was advised that Mr Smith was in a critical condition and his condition was advanced. Two days later scans were carried out which showed that Mr Smith’s organs were failing and the machine supporting him was shut down.

Mrs Smith made a written complaint to the Ambulance Trust who responded admitting that the paramedics should have taken Mr Smith’s condition more seriously and carried out tests when they were first called out to him in June 2008.

Mrs Smith contacted Ian Kirwan, a specialist in clinical negligence matters at Pryers Solicitors, in December 2008.

Investigations commenced and a medical report was obtained from a Consultant Cardiologist which was not supportive. However, the admissions made following Mrs Smiths complaint were used to put allegations to the Ambulance Trust. The Defendant responded admitting that Mr Smith should have been taken to hospital two days earlier, but denying that this had any effect on Mr Smith’s health. An offer to settle was made for £10,000 which Mrs Smith was happy to accept.

The Defendant also paid all of Mrs Smith’s legal costs so she kept 100% of her compensation