An ambulance service has apologised for the death of a Sheffield grandmother after a paramedic told her to take paracetamol for chest pains
Carol Wilson’s husband Peter called 111 on New Year’s Day in 2015 after she had been suffering from chest pains for a few days, as well as severe throat and ear pain, and pain when breathing.
The 111 service sent a paramedic to the couple’s Sheffield home on Slayleigh Lane, Fulwood, at around 7am.
But, rather than giving her a heart scan or taking her to hospital, they said she should take paracetamol.
Mrs Wilson, 70, who had three sons, died in her sleep two days later due to a heart condition.
Her heartbroken husband Peter said he has been left 'devastated' by the events.
Medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell investigated Mrs Wilson’s treatment and found the paramedic failed to carry out an ECG scan, which would have identified abnormalities that needed hospital treatment.
Lawyers argued that if Mrs Wilson had been admitted to hospital, it is likely that pericarditis - a swelling of the fluid-filled sac surrounding the heart which causes chest and breathing pain - would have been picked up and treated.
Bosses at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service apologised for the standard of care the grandmother received.
Retired HR director Mr Wilson, 72, said: “Since those three days at the start of 2015, my life has been turned upside down. We’d been married for over 40 years and I don’t think I will ever truly get over Carol’s death and I’m still devastated thinking about it now.
“Carol was an active, healthy woman who practised yoga on a daily basis, walked regularly and ate healthily. Her sudden illness was just such a shock.
“Nothing can turn back the clock but I just hope that the trust will learn the importance of investigating chest pain in the future.
“Carol was devoted to her family. She was proud of her sons and adored her young grandchildren who she thought she would see progress at school and beyond. She was cruelly denied that opportunity.”
Steve Page, executive director of Quality, Governance and Performance Assurance at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “First and foremost our thoughts are with Carol Wilson’s family following their sad loss.
“We would like to apologise for the standard of care that was provided to Mrs Wilson on 1st January 2015.
“The assessment carried out by a member of our staff was not reflective of the high quality clinical care provided by the Trust and actions have been taken as a result of this incident to prevent such an occurrence in the future.
“We would like to reassure members of the public that we take very seriously any concerns that are raised by patients and their relatives and we are committed to being open and honest with them.”
Hayley Smith, a medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield, representing Mr Wilson, said: “Peter was understandably distraught at his wife’s unexpected death and wanted answers about what happened to her.
“One minute he was being told to get paracetamol and just two days later his wife had died during her sleep.
“After our investigation the NHS trust has admitted its mistakes and apologised for the substandard care provided. Although paramedics do a difficult job and have to make split second decisions, the symptoms and medical history in this case clearly show that more should have been done to diagnose Carol’s chest pain.
“Patient safety should be the number one priority of the NHS and Peter hopes that lessons will now be learned from this tragic incident to reduce the risk of other families suffering in similar circumstances.”