“A widow is suing an ambulance trust after it dispatched a private ambulance whose crew failed to identify that her husband was having a heart attack.
The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust uncovered a series of failures and has apologised to Kim Page for the death of her husband Gary.
It described the leader of the crew as “complacent” for not heeding the concerns of a more junior colleague.
A coroner last month found “serious failings” in Mr Page’s
The episode has shone a spotlight on the greater use of private ambulances in attending emergency calls.
Mrs Page is taking civil action against East of England Ambulance Service and Private Ambulance Service Ltd for damages.
East of England Ambulance trust dispatched a team at the second highest level. Because they were busy, they sent a private ambulance team – a regular occurrence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The team from Private Ambulance Service Limited didn’t have a paramedic on board. The most senior member of the crew was an emergency technician called Lauren de la Haye. She received her qualification certificate a few days before, although she had practised as an emergency medic under supervision for several years.
Mrs Page remembers Ms de la Haye saying: “It is definitely not your heart, you are definitely not having a heart attack. “I wish all my patients were like you sitting here talking to me.”
…”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.” Still in pain, and without his reading glasses, Mr Page signed a document that Ms de la Haye presented saying that he agreed not to go to hospital.
The crew left. Mrs Page says the medics did not advise them what to do if the symptoms continued.
… He died 10 hours after his symptoms started, and was just minutes away from a specialist heart unit at Basildon University Hospital.
An inquest heard the root cause of Gary Page’s death was Lauren de la Haye’s failure to identify an evolving heart attack, and her not contacting the clinical advice line for further support, even when prompted to do so by a more junior colleague. …”