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clinical negligence by paramedics

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ive been advised by my doctor to make a claim for clinical negligence,


on 21st april I suffered a massive heart attack .

my wife phoned 999 ,

when I had been complaining of chest pains for approx. 20 mins .


I don't like hospitals so for the 20 mins I kept sayin no

,till the point I could no longer speak .


she spent 15 mins on the phone to the 999 operator explaining my pains

,struggling to breath going blue ,

twice I stopped breathing for approx. 30 seconds.


my children witnessed it all plus another family member and a life long friend.


when the paramedic turned up ,

he told me to stop pi55ing around and to get up off the floor as I was having a panic attack and that's why I couldn't breath .


I couldn't speak but managed to shout out for him to get the hell out of my house

and get someone in who could do their job as I knew there was something seriously wrong .


the paramedic was at my home around 20 mins and

the only thing he did was attach some clip to my finger

and state there was nothing wrong with my air intake

as my lungs were 98% saturated.


the ambulance finally arrived ,

then the paramedic relayed to them it was either panic

or anxiety so they then sat outside my home address for nearly 1 hour ,


no tests were done at all ,the only things said were calm your breathing its just panic .


they eventually took me into hospital ,

accompanied by my sister in law .

we were left in a cubical for approx 1hr.


a nurse then came in and asked about my symptoms .

I told her pain down my face ,

numb left arm

,shoulder pain

and the feeling of been crushed by an elephant .


she immediately did an ecg .


disappeared rather quickly and

returned asking me what I thought was wrong with me .


I stated I thought I had suffered a heart attack .she replied

" no you are still having one you need surgery now "


she then sprayed the gt spray under my tongue to relieve my symptoms

twice on 2 occasions ,

then injected me with morphine ,

after this point a lot is blurry .


I was transferred to Sheffield ccu were they did an emergency angioplasty .

and inserted a stent into my artery as it was blocked by a blood clot.


all in all it took over 3.5 hours for this to happen all because in my view

an untrained ,not bothered paramedic decided it was a panic attack

and did not listen to anyone in the household what my symptoms were .


I am now on 6 more different drugs ,

5 for life which I believe could have been reduced

if the time limit had been considerably reduced .


my children were traumatised by the whole situation ,


I am baby sat 24 hours a day (have also been recently diagnosed epileptic

(but have absence seizures as well)


I have lost all faith in the paramedic service and the incompetence of the man who first saw me ,

could mean someone elses life could be in danger .


my wife did make a formally complaint by phone ,

twice they have rung her back

the 2nd time they stated that as it is so severe they are not proceeding by the normal protocol.


I have rung national accident helpline and given details but is it worth pursuing .


The main reason I want to take action is I don't want this paramedic misdiagnosing someone else

and it ending up in an even worse situation.

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Seems likely that this is clinical negligence.

Duty of care? Yup, paramedic to patient.

Breach of duty? Likely, seems they should have done an ECG rather than assuming it was a panic attack.

Harm resulting ? Likely : "time is myocardium" (heart muscle)


Intervening acts that disrupt the chain of events: they could claim the delay was caused by you shouting at him to get out of your house. It seems unusual that the ambulance "sat outside" your house for an hour if you weren't in it : where were you at the time? If you were in your house, were the ambulance crew with you and did they do an ECG?


Your solicitor should ask for a copy of the ambulance service's notes ..... and ECG if they did one (as it would show if the ECG signs of heart attack were visible them or only developed later).


I'd be upset if I felt I hadn't been listened to, and had been misdiagnosed / under treated as a result.

However, you are going to have to appear as "Mr Calm & reasonable" if you don't want to open up an avenue for them to "wriggle off the hook".


Thinking ahead to how he could try to evade responsibility : If I wanted to make out that I'd done everything I could, I'd latch onto some points from what you have posted.

"he said he couldn't speak, yet he was able to shout at me to get out : clearly he could speak - and not just speak but shout"

"I was going to do an ECG but couldn't as I was ordered out of the house: being ordered out is what caused the delay"

"untrained paramedic?" ; how do you know what his training is : "this shows what an unreliable witness he is"


So, I'm not suggesting you are mistaken as to events : but watch out with the comments or you might open up cracks he'll try & wriggle through.

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The clear failing here is also the "gold standard" which is to get a MI (Myocardial Infarction) patient to a regional heart centre and treatment started within an hour.


Even if the paramedic 'thought' it was a panic attack. He should have performed other clinical tests to rule out anything else.

Bazza is very much correct above. Be careful with what you say and how it's said as if you give any wiggle room they will spin it and slip out of it.


Have a look at NICE clinical guidance for MI. That is what makes the standard operating procedures for all health care as far as I'm aware.

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Hi hollowman


It really doesn't matter what you were saying or how you were behaving. A paramedic is trained to recognize the signs of a 'heart attack'. You didn't want to make a big thing of it, or want fuss made of it. The paramedic could have got symptoms from your wife, if he couldn't get the relevant info from you. I suspect there is a huge difference in symptoms of a panic attack to that of a heart attack.




Contains some useful information:-


Clinical Negligence Factsheet - Rethink

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From what I understand a panic attack can give many of the same symptoms as a heart attack. I am not medically trained but if you had a massive heart attack that went on for over 3 1/2hours I would suspect you wouldnt be here to be complaining.


I am not saying for one minute that mistakes weren't made and that there isnt a case to answer but as said before your language seems very confrontational and sadly that can be counter productive.


The words heart attack are used generically as well . In laymans terms they cover a huge range of symptoms.

If however your GP is saying he thinks there is negligence and NAH are willing to proceed then I think you should. If not do you have legal expense cover on your household indurance?


Do not expect it to be a quick resolution though , it could take a long time.

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That poses the question, if the symptoms are both similar, why did the paramedic come to the conclusion it was a panic attack? What exactly did he check?

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sry forgot a few key points , when shouted at him , I really don't know where the will to shout at hi came from maybe it was the real fact in my mind that I really did feel like I was going to die , he had been there quite a while when I did shout . maybe 10 mins plus .



the ambulance was outside my house for aprox 1 hour with me in it , with them telling me it was a panic attack .



when I was transferred to Sheffield from Rotherham ,1 of the new ambulance staff watched them do the angioplasty as she really did think I wasn't going to make it , but when I was transferred back to Rotherham ,the same ambulance staff member ,a lovely woman was there to greet me , she told me how she watched the procedure ,then she told me that she had looked at all my notes from the telephone transcript from my wife to the notes of the paramedic and first ambulance crew . they both put I was in no pain and no pain relief was administered and that no ecg etc was ever performed . she told me there and then that protocol was not followed at all.

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forgot to say at no point until I was at hospital was an ecg trace done at all , the ambulance crew only gave me oxygen (mask) to help me breath as they thought I was panicking

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then she told me that she had looked at all my notes from the telephone transcript from my wife to the notes of the paramedic and first ambulance crew . they both put I was in no pain and no pain relief was administered and that no ecg etc was ever performed . she told me there and then that protocol was not followed at all.


Sadly, "if it is in the records, it is true", even if it isn't true!, unless you can prove it isn't true. The relevant test for a civil case is "balance of probabilities", but you are facing the uphill struggle of the rapid response paramedic and the separate ambulance crew both recording "no pain".


You'll say "I told them I was in pain". They'll say, "he denied pain when we asked", and since they BOTH put you weren't in pain, you'd have to claim that they were either BOTH mistaken, or made a concerted effort to lie.


If they claim their notes were contemporaneous, and not made up later, it'll look like they asked, and they noted your denial of pain - 2 different people asking, at 2 different times.


I'm not saying it is in any way right, but unless you can show otherwise, they'll say "no pain, no reason to do an ECG", and hence it will be harder to show a breach of duty of care.


You don't have to have pain to be having a heart attack, but if there is no pain, unless there are other typical symptoms that make it important to rule out a heart attack, they'll claim "didn't fit with a heart attack".

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