A young telesales executive died in hospital after medics reduced her blood-thinning medication, a coroner has ruled.
But doctors made the decision to make changes to 22-year-old Leigh Holden’s treatment for valid medical reasons.
Miss Holden, from Grange Road, Beighton, Sheffield, died in the Northern General Hospital last July 29, several days after being admitted for coughing up blood.
An inquest into her death heard she suffered a major heart attack in March and had a stent fitted to widen her artery.
The court heard Miss Holden was taking blood-thinning medication Ticagrelor twice a day, designed to prevent clots forming in her blood vessels.
When she returned to hospital with coughing problems, she was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism - a blockage in the artery that transports blood to the lungs.
The court was told doctors decided to reduce the amount of drugs she was taking because she was coughing up ‘life-threatening amounts of blood’ and they were concerned she could lose even more.
Dr Robin Condliffe, who helped treat Ms Holden, said the decision to lower her dose was taken to reduce her risk of dying from blood loss but added it increased the chance of complications with her stent.
Pathologist Dr Julian Burton told the inquest the cause of death as stent thrombosis - where the stent becomes blocked by a blood clot.
Assistant coroner Louise Slater gave a narrative conclusion at the inquest yesterday and said changes in medication, which resulted in Leigh missing five doses of her medication between June 26 and 29, had been a factor in her death.
“Medical management required her anti-platelet therapy to be modified,” she said. “She suddenly deteriorated. On the balance of probablities, it is likely the modification of the anti-platelet therapy contributed to her death.”
Andrew Gibson, Deputy Medical Director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: “I would like to offer our sincere condolences to Miss Holden’s family and can only imagine how devastated they are at the loss of Leigh at such a young age. “The team caring for Miss Holden did all they could to save her life and due to her very complex medical condition they did seek advice from the cardiology specialists before decisions on treatment were made.
“The decision to modify the anti-platelet medication in order to treat the haemoptysis was only made after careful consideration of the balance of risk to Miss Holden given the situation at that time. The coroner also acknowledged in his verdict that the medical management of the haemoptysis required Miss Holden’s therapy to be modified.”