"My mother's treatment by medical professionals"

About: East Of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust / Emergency ambulance Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital / Respiratory medicine

(as a relative),

In June this year, my mother got very ill with a chest infection and diarrhea. I rang 111 at about 11pm. My mother also suffered from copd as evidenced by an oxygen machine. By the time the doctor came at 1145pm, my mother had fallen asleep. The doctor very briefly examined my mother whist she was still asleep; at no point did he wake her up to ask her questions or properly diagnose her. He told me she had slight cracking on her shoulders but it was nothing much to worry about and he would get me some antibiotics and a drug to treat the diarrhea. He also said I did not need to give them to her until the morning with some food, some eight or nine hours away. I did precisely as he instructed.

Around 2pm, my mother suddenly developed what I now know to have been a focal seizure/TIA. I range 999 immediately and the paramedics attended within four minutes. However, by the time they arrived my mother although obviously not well had recovered from the TIA. At no point during their visit did they ever mention the TIA. Nor did they mention, my mother should go to hospital for an assessment. Instead, they diagnosed my mother's chest infection and pronounced that it was only a slight chest infection and that my mother did not need to go to hospital as it was being treated by the antibiotics prescribed by the on call doctor.

As my mother seemed so ill and weak, I repeatedly asked the senior paramedic if my mum could be suffering from pneumonia. She replied that it was impossible for my mother to be suffering from pneumonia as her body temperature was only slightly raised and it would have to be a lot higher if my mother was suffering from pneumonia. As the senior paramedic then just advised me to give my mother some paracetamol to help reduce her slight temperature I never intervened when she suggested to my mother that she did not need to go to hospital and it was up to my mother if she still thought she should go. After all for some reason, perhaps shock I had forgot about her TIA and the senior paramedic had consistently told me my mother was ok and definitely not suffering from pneumonia. This reinforced the doctors diagnosis that my mother was only suffering from a minor chest infection.

Anyway, the paramedics left. Two hours later my mother had another seizure, only this one was worse. I called 999, they came quickly and assessed my mother's medical situation as critical. She was blue lighted to the Norfolk and Norwich University hospital. She went to the resussication unit and then the acute medical unit. It was there I was told that she was suffering from severe pneumonia and was unlikely to survive.

If only the doctor had woke her to examine her fully she at least would have had a much better chance to survive. My mother began responding to the IV antibiotics in hospital but suffered a significant stroke sometime in the early hours at the beginning of July. The medical staff never treated her TIA's as they said she was so severely ill with pneumonia. She was diagnosed as suffering from a Glasgow level three coma and end of life treatment commenced. She passed away after such a brave and dignified fight at 330am a couple of days later.

She was a wonderful caring person in such contrast to the highly trained and experienced on call doctor and first senior paramedic attending my mother. In the four weeks since it first happened, I have only just realized why my mother was not admitted to hospital and it was because, in my opinion, some doctors and some paramedics feel the need to act as gate keepers to the local hospital, especially when it comes to the elderly. I am certain if my mother had been a lot younger, given her so obviously life threatening symptoms they would have admitted to hospital immediately.

My mother deserved so much more and if I could not protect my mother from their inactions what chance can other elderly patients have from such people. I have lost all trust in the East of England Ambulance service though I realize that many of their personnel are highly trained and caring professionals who always make the best clinical choices for all their patients, however old they are. It is just that when my mother most needed those kind of medical personnel, she so terribly unfortunately did not get them and her life chances were ended.

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Responses

Response from Marian Burgess, Patient Services Facilitator, East Of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

I am sorry that you have had cause to raise concerns about East of England Ambulance Service. My sincere condolences for the sad loss of your mother.

I would like to investigate the concerns you have raised and would be grateful if could email eoeasnt.feedback@nhs.net with the date and the location we attended so that we can track the staff involved and begin an investigation if you would like us to do so.

I would be grateful if you could you also include you contact details please.

Kind regards

Marian Burgess

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