Medical negligence can come in many forms and although the majority of medical professionals will strive to avoid it it can and does still happen, including in the care of private ambulance services.
This was the tragic case for Gary Page from Laindon in Essex. Gary was at his home in February of this year when he began to experience chest pains. His wife, Kim, researched the symptoms online and dialed 111 to seek medical advice.
East of England Ambulance trust dispatched a team to the scene, however because they were busy, they had to send a private ambulance crew, none of whom were certified paramedics. The most qualified member of the team was an emergency technician who received her certificate only days before.
Kim recalls the emergency technician, Lauren de la Haye, telling Mr Page on arrival that it was definitely not his heart. She is quoted as saying: “You are definitely not having a heart attack. I wish all my patients were like you sitting here talking to me.”
The team then carried out two heart traces on Mr Page, with the results displaying as “abnormal ECG”. Ms de la Haye did not agree with the reading, or that of her junior team members.
Mrs Page stated that Ms de la Haye asked Gary what he thought it could be, and what he did for a living. After revealing that he went into lofts as part of his job, she thought it could have been a pulled muscle.
Mrs Page explained: “Then she said, ‘We can take you to the hospital but you will have a 10-hour wait.’ She said that three times, as if it were unnecessary for him to go.”
Then Ms de la Haye gave Mr Page a document to sign agreeing that he did not want to go to hospital and they left without explaining what to do if the symptoms persisted.
The couple slept in separate beds that night so Gary could be more comfortable, and just before dawn Kim woke to find Gary breathing heavily. She panicked and dialled 999, sadly however Gary took his last breath as Kim tried to revive him.
Gary died 10 hours after his symptoms began, and the Pages live just minutes from a specialist heart unit as Basildon University Hospital.
The root cause of death at an inquest was identified as Ms de la Haye’s failure to identify an evolving heart attack.
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