William Dean represents family at inquest in which coroner noted ‘serious failings’ in medical care



On 13th September 2016, the Senior Coroner for Essex conducted an inquest into the death of Gary Page. Mr Page died of a myocardial infarction (a heart attack) at home in the early morning of 25th February 2016. On the evening of 24th February 2016, Mr Page had complained of pain in his chest and arm / shoulder and he had vomited. His wife called 111 and an ambulance was dispatched. The ambulance was provided by the Private Ambulance Service under contract with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

The ambulance crew comprised one emergency medical technician (EMT) and one emergency care assistant (ECA). An additional ECA was present, apparently in an observational capacity. The inquest heard that on arrival (and before any examination) the EMT told Mr Page he was not having a heart attack. The observing ECA conducted an electrocardiogram (ECG) test of Mr Page’s heart and he noted abnormalities in the ECG print-out. The inquest heard that he commented upon them to the EMT; but she maintained that Mr Page was not having a heart attack, suggesting that he was suffering from a pulled muscle or indigestion. Mr Page was left at home.

The Senior Coroner delivered a narrative verdict in the following terms.

“On the evening of 24th February 2016, the deceased suffered chest pains and vomited. Ambulance personnel attended his home and he was not taken to hospital. He was advised that he was not suffering a heart attack. The next morning [25th February 2016], he was found non-responsive and confirmed deceased. There were serious failings in the medical care provided to the deceased on the evening of 24th February 2016.”

The Senior Coroner indicated that she would write to the Private Ambulance Service and the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust in respect of joint working between the services and on the question of how improvements will be brought about as a result of lessons learned from this incident.

The inquest was covered by certain media outlets.

Serious failings in medical care led to man’s death, inquest finds, The Guardian.

Ambulance service’s ‘serious failings’ in heart attack care, BBC News.

Man who was ‘guaranteed’ he was not having a heart attack by an ambulance crew died at home just hours later, Basildon, Canvey & Southend Echo.

William Dean, instructed by Stephanie Prior of Osbornes Solicitors LLP, represented Mrs Page at the inquest.

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