Ambulance Delays

Widow Claims for Ambulance Delay Death

August 17th, 2015 | By injuryclaims

A woman, whose husband died after contracting meningitis and had to wait for six hours on an ambulance, has made a claim for compensation for the delay.

 On the 5th January 2014, Mthuthezeli  Mpongwana – aged third-seven – began suffering from headaches, fevers and was developing a  sensitivity to bright lights. His wife, Lisa Armitage, called the NHS 111 service for advice on his worrying condition. 

Despite the fact that the NHS 111 advisor recognised Mthuthezeli’s as matching meningitis, it took three hours for the dispatched ambulance to arrive at the couple’s home in Bedminster. Whilst waiting, Mthuthezeli was becoming increasing delirious and turning grey. 

Yet when the ambulance eventually arrived, the paramedics did not recognise that Mthuthezeli was suffering from meningitis and downgraded his case to lowest priority. The couple had to wait another three hours before another service arrived to take Mthuthezeli to the Bristol Royal Infirmary. 

By the time Mthuthezeli was admitted to the hospital, he had lost the ability to control his limbs and had bulging eyes. He was taken to a resuscitation room, where he had a stroke and had swelling in his brain. After Lisa was informed that there was nothing that the doctors could do to save Mthuthezeli, he died on the 7th January after his life support was removed. 

An inquest followed into Mthuthezeli’s death, and it was determined that he had died from natural causes “contributed to by a failure to take appropriate action”. The coroner’s report stated that, when the paramedics first arrived, a priority one ambulance should have been called to the scene. Additionally, Mthuthezeli should have been administered benzo-penicillin to treat the infection. The coroner commented the inadequate care “resulted in a missed opportunity to render medical treatment”.

A Serious Incidents Report was also compiled, and it was found that the South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust had failed in their duty of care towards Mthuthezeli. Lisa has since sought legal counsel and made a claim for compensation for the wrongful death of her husband through ambulance delay. 

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