about to describe a series of events which result in a tragic
misdiagnosis of my wife’s condition, resulting in her death.
the evening of Tuesday February 13th 2007, my wife collapsed on the
stairs with a severe pain in one of her legs. At the time she was
talking to her friend on the telephone whilst sitting on the stairs.
heard her moans from the kitchen and found her in extreme agony,
deathly white and sweating profusely.
helped her to the living room and called for an ambulance. Within a
short period of time both paramedic and ambulance personnel were with
spent some time trying to assess the situation and trying to stabilise
my wife. She was given morphine for the pain in her leg.
some considerable time she was taken to Queen Alexandra hospital.
Unfortunately it was during the rush hour period and it took forever.
Whoever who made the crass decision about the closure of the local
Accident & Emergency department at the Haslar hospital should sit in
an ambulance with their wife in a seemingly critical condition making
their way to QA in the rush hour.
arrived at QA there is a queue in the corridor and all the ambulance
personnel waiting with their patients are openly scathing about the
queuing and the Haslar situation.
wife was finally taken to a cubicle to be seen by a doctor. At this
time my wife not only had a pain in her leg but also in her abdomen
and lower back. She also mentioned a sore throat. She was struggling
with her speech. The doctor gave her an examination and asked various
questions. She seemed to be considering that there may have been a
stroke and asked if there was any family history. I replied by saying
that the only family history was the death of her father at an early
age with a ‘torn’ aorta (not knowing the technical term at this time).
Ultimately the doctor stated that she thought my wife had had a TIA
and that she could go home and for her GP to follow up the TIA. My
family and I were somewhat taken aback that she was not to be kept in
night my wife was in considerable discomfort with pain in her abdomen,
back and leg. She also had what seemed to be a sore throat.
Coincidentally my wife had an appointment with her GP the next day and
I took her with my daughter to see the doctor. She had to be helped
into the doctor’s room by both my daughter and myself as she was still
having a problem with her leg. Her GP was somewhat surprised to see my
wife in such a state as he thought she was there for a routine
appointment about her cholesterol. He gave her a long examination and
stated that she had not had a TIA and probably had a virus as she had
been sick overnight.
took my wife home and she went to bed as she felt so unwell. The
following day (15th) she still felt unwell and on this day
she stated the pain in her abdomen was worse than having a baby and I
telephoned the doctor and he prescribed soluble paracetamol.
wife continued to be unwell with the pains in her abdomen and back but
we assumed this was due to the virus. For several nights I had slept
in one bedroom and my wife in another as she didn’t want to disturb me
as she was restless.
the morning of the 17th I went into see my wife and she had
morning of my worst nightmare I started to have chest pains. I was
concerned as I have a coronary problem. I telephoned for a doctor.
These days in the UK you do not have access to your own doctor at
weekends. The weekend doctor asked me to attend his clinic and I
refused as my wife had just died. How sympathetic is this? Finally a
doctor attended. Before seeing to me the doctor asked me about what
had happened with my wife and he stated that she should have been kept
autopsy revealed that my wife had died of a Type A aortic dissection,
This being exactly the same condition that her father died of when he
was 46. My wife was 58. I had told the A&E doctor of the condition
that my wife was suffering with. Why oh why did she not listen?
family and I are obviously distraught. We are very disturbed that
there has been a serious misdiagnosis of my wife’s condition and that
the family information that I provided along with the abdominal, lower
back and throat pain symptoms were ignored.
Yesteryear my wife would have certainly been taken in for observation.
Today there clearly is pressure for beds and turnaround of cases.
she been taken in for observation as one doctor said she should have
been, had the key information been analysed correctly, had she been
scanned, my wife would have had an 85% chance of survival. In sending
her home she had NO chance.
opinion this is as serious as it gets. Misdiagnosis resulting in
one positive to come out of this nightmare is that we now know that
aortic dissection can be hereditary. My children have now been scanned
and will continue to be so as will my grandson.
have been through the United Kingdom National Health Trust Complaints
Process. I have received an apology and I am now taking legal action.
from the apology which I asked for there was a demand that the NHS
review their diagnosis procedures for cases such as my wife’s. The
response was that nothing could be done. Just as nothing was done for
my wife. Why will the NHS not learn from such a tragedy?
all those families out there whose family members have died of an
aortic dissection please be aware that it may well be hereditary and
your family needs scanning immediately.
Update to Ann’s Story
11th October 2007
Yesterday I gave an interview
to the British Broadcasting Corporation’s South Today regional health
correspondent regarding my wife’s story.
Today the news story was shown
in the south of England several times throughout the day.
The main purpose of the story
was to raise awareness of the aortic dissection condition both with
medical personnel and the public.
The National Health Trust
which is responsible for the hospital where my wife was taken to
Accident and Emergency made a statement which stated that my wife’s
case has been and will continue to be emphasised in teaching within
the Emergency department.
This statement is very welcome
and is one which I had been seeking.
Here's the link to the BBC news footage:
The husband of a Hampshire woman who died of a rare heart
condition, is calling for greater awareness of the illness by
Martin's connections with Ann in the
afterlife: Read this!
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