Charlotte Foster, 23, died from a pulmonary embolism after taking the contraceptive pill Dianette.
When she was prescribed the hormonal contraceptive by her GP in August 2015, she was advised to contact the surgery if she suffered any problems, such as shortness of breath or chest pains.
Four months later, over the Christmas and New Year period, Charlotte told her family she was having chest and back pain, shortness of breath and heart palpitations. On New Year’s Eve she couldn’t lie down because of the pain in her ribs.
On the 4 January, Charlotte and her mother visited a new GP at the Practice in Newport.
“He did not seem to listen to her. He told her that her problem was mechanical and that she should go for a massage or a spa day. I feel he should have immediately stopped her from taking the pill and investigated her for a pulmonary embolism”, said Foster’s mother.
Coroner John Ellery concluded that Charlotte was showing symptoms of a pulmonary embolism but was told by the GP that she simply had back pain.
“She presented with symptoms of pulmonary embolism, but was diagnosed with back pain and was not treated for pulmonary embolism. The deceased died from the untreated side effects of the combined oral contraceptive pill Dianette”, Ellery said in his narrative conclusion.
On 22 January Charlotte was at work when she suffered a cardiac arrest. She was taken to hospital and later died on 25 January.
The GP involved, Dr Simon, told the coroner: “I did not note any signs of respiratory distress or shortness of breath. The cause of her back pain was mechanical. When I observed Charlotte I did not observe that she had shortness of breath.”
At the end of the inquest Charlotte’s family said: “We hope that more people and medical professionals become aware of the potential risks, however rare, of taking this medication so that no other family have to live through this nightmare.”
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