Widower Awarded Compensation for the Failure to Dispatch an Ambulance

A widower has been awarded an undisclosed settlement of compensation for the failure to dispatch an ambulance when his wife was complaining of chest pains.

On 28th December 2011, Ann Kinsey (68) returned to her home in Wolverhampton from her job at the local Waitrose supermarket complaining of chest pains. Ann´s husband, Brian, called NHS Direct (now replaced with the 111 non-emergency service) and received a call back from an out-of-hours GP. The GP advised Brian that Ann seemed to be suffering from either acid reflux or gastroenteritis.

The GP also told Brian to get Ann some antacids and pain relief tablets; but, when Brian returned from the pharmacy, he found Ann lying unresponsive on the floor. Brian immediately called 999 and, when paramedics arrived, they worked to resuscitate Ann for an hour before taking her to New Cross Hospital. At the hospital, an emergency team try to resuscitate Ann for a further thirty minutes, but without success.

Brian sought legal advice and claimed compensation for the failure to dispatch an ambulance when he first contacted NHS Direct. The NHS Direct Trust acknowledged that there had been a breach of duty in respect of the failure of the out-of-hours GP to provide the correct diagnosis and advice, but denied that dispatching an ambulance at the time and in the circumstances would have prevented Ann´s death.

On Brian´s behalf, medical negligence solicitors pursued his case, and now Brian has received an undisclosed settlement of compensation for the failure to dispatch an ambulance. Speaking to his local paper, Brian said:

“If an ambulance had been dispatched that night, it may not have stopped her going into cardiac arrest, but at least she would have been in the best possible hands and at least stood a chance of living. Nothing can bring Ann back, but it was very important to me that NHS Direct acknowledged its mistakes so that no one else would suffer as she did”.