Health chiefs say doctors missed signs mum was having a heart attack

  • Lauren Page Smith was discovered on her bathroom floor on January 6, 2023
  • She had called 911 about chest pain, but they said there was no cause for concern



Health chiefs have admitted paramedics missed signals that a mother was having a heart attack.

Lauren Page Smith was found lifeless on the bathroom floor in Wolverhampton, with her two-year-old daughter clinging to her chest and saying: ‘Mummy won’t wake up.’

A few hours earlier, the 29-year-old had called 911 after she suffered chest pain and started vomiting on January 6 last year.

An ambulance crew from the West Midlands arrived shortly afterwards, but paramedics said there was no cause for concern after misreading her electrocardiogram (ECG) test results.

She was then found dead by her shocked mother Emma Carrington in her Wolverhampton home, with Lauren’s young daughter next to her holding her body.

Now the West Midlands Ambulance Service has admitted liability for a series of failings leading up to Lauren’s death and apologized to the family.

Lauren Page Smith was found lifeless on the bathroom floor in Wolverhampton, with her two-year-old daughter clinging to her chest and saying: ‘Mummy won’t wake up.
A few hours earlier, the 29-year-old had called 911 after she suffered chest pain and started vomiting on January 6 last year

A post-mortem examination later revealed that Lauren, who was an administrator, died of a sudden heart attack following a blood clot in the lung.

A coroner ruled there had been ‘gross failings’ in her care at an inquest in November last year.

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Mum Emma said: ‘Our lives have been absolutely devastated by what happened to Lauren, who had so much to live for and such a bright future ahead of her.

‘The ambulance service’s admissions of liability show how badly things went wrong in the way Lauren was treated.

‘We can only hope that lessons have now been learned so that no other family has to endure the pain we have endured, and that the Health and Care Professional Council gives serious consideration to the fitness to practice of the paramedics Lauren visited.’

At the time of the inquest, Emma accused the two paramedics involved of ‘essentially letting her die’.

She added: ‘There are simply no words to describe how we feel as a family.

‘Through no fault of her own, my daughter has no future and my granddaughter will grow up without knowing her mother.

‘Lauren had her whole life ahead of her and it was taken away from her.

“We believe that because of her age and the fact that she was calm, the paramedics did not think she could be as ill as she was and she did not receive the care she needed.”

An ambulance crew arrived shortly afterwards, but paramedics said there was no cause for concern after misreading her electrocardiogram (ECG) test results.

During the inquest, two paramedics told Lauren that her ECG reading was not a cause for concern, while the facts indicated that a cardiac event was likely.

They misinterpreted the results and failed to recognize the signs of an autodiagnostic monitor of “abnormal findings in a woman aged 18 to 39 years.”

Lauren decided not to go to the hospital based on what she was told and before she was found dead in her apartment by her mother several hours later.

Black Country coroner Coroner Jo Lees has sent a prevention of future deaths letter to the ambulance service amid concerns over a lack of training.

In the letter, the agency admits that it failed to investigate Lauren’s condition quickly and thoroughly enough, failed to recognize her symptoms and misinterpreted the results of an ECG scan.

Michael Portman-Hann, associate at law firm FBC Manby Bowdler and representing the family, said: “This is a truly horrific case in which a number of mistakes ultimately led to the death of a beloved young mother who had lost her entire life. life for her.

‘The service has accepted that it failed to investigate Lauren’s condition quickly and thoroughly enough, failed to recognize her symptoms, misinterpreted the results of an ECG scan and therefore failed to accurately tell Lauren what was happening to her.

‘She should have been told she had a heart condition and needed hospital treatment. In that case, she would have been rushed to hospital under blue light.

‘The ambulance service now admits that if they had handled Lauren’s case properly, she would have been taken to hospital and likely survived the heart attack.

“We are pleased that the agency has made such important admissions of liability, which will help provide answers to Lauren’s family, who have been left devastated by her untimely death.

“Because of what happened, a young girl will grow up not knowing the mother who loved her.

“But we also sincerely hope that the agency learns the necessary lessons from this tragic case and does everything it can to implement training and policies that will ensure something similar does not happen again.”

A spokesperson for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: ‘We would like to once again apologize to the family of Lauren Smith and express our condolences.

“The trust has conducted a comprehensive investigation into the incident, which we have shared with Lauren’s family.

‘We have therefore made a number of changes based on the findings.

“We will continue to do everything we can to prevent something like this from ever happening again.”

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