Ambulance service accepts mistakes in dead mum's care

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith had dialled 111 after complaining of vomiting and chest pains [BBC]

A woman who died following a heart attack would probably have survived if paramedics had not wrongly told her she did not need to go to hospital, an ambulance service has accepted.

Lauren Smith, from Wolverhampton, was found dead at home in January last year with her two-year-old daughter sitting on her trying to wake her up.

The 29-year-old had suffered a heart attack following a blood clot on her lungs.

West Midlands Ambulance service has apologised, adding it will do everything possible to stop such circumstances from happening again.

Emma Carrington
"Our lives have been absolutely devastated by what happened to Lauren," her mother Emma Carrington said [BBC]

Ms Smith had dialled 111 after complaining of vomiting and chest pain.

Paramedics who attended performed an ECG on her heart and said it was normal, but an extra read-out actually suggested she was having a heart attack.

Miss Smith decided not to go to hospital based on what she was told by paramedics.

In November, Black Country coroner Jo Lees ruled that there had been a gross failure in Lauren’s treatment and issued a prevention of future deaths report to ensure lessons were learnt.

Ms Smith's mother, Emma Carrington, who discovered her body, said: “Our lives have been absolutely devastated by what happened to Lauren, who had so much to live for and such a bright future in front of her.

“We can only hope that lessons have now been learned so that no other family has to endure the pain we have been through, and that the Health and Care Professional Council give serious consideration to the fitness to practice of the paramedics who attended Lauren.”

A solicitor representing the family, Michael Portman-Hann, said: “The [ambulance] service has accepted it failed to investigate Lauren’s condition quickly or thoroughly enough, did not recognise her symptoms, misinterpreted the results of an ECG scan and as a result could not accurately tell Lauren what was happening to her.

“She should have been told she was suffering a cardiac event and needed hospital treatment in which case she would have been rushed to hospital under blue lights.”

A spokesperson for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “We would again like to apologise to the family of Lauren Smith and offer our condolences.

“The trust undertook an extensive investigation into the incident, which we have shared with Lauren’s family. As a result we have implemented a number of changes based on the findings."

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