Dental nurse, 30, died after 'serious failings' by paramedics who could have saved her had she gone to hospital
Sarah Thomas, 30, was barely conscious when paramedics arrived
They told her she was 'better off' at home rather than hospital
Inquest ruled she would have survived had she received simple treatment

Rachel Reilly


15:37 GMT, 22 February 2013



15:40 GMT, 22 February 2013

Sarah Thomas died at home because her symptoms were not taken seriously

Sarah Thomas died at home because her symptoms were not taken seriously by paramedics

A dental nurse died after 'serious failings' by paramedics called to her home, a coroner ruled today.

Sarah Thomas, 30, was found dead just six hours after ambulancemen told her she didn't need to go to hospital, despite being 'barely conscious'.

An inquest heard she would have survived if she had been taken to hospital – and been given simple injections.

Her father, Kenneth Thomas, told the hearing he was with her when she was examined by paramedics David Glover and Michael Davies.

'Sarah looked very distressed and could hardly speak – she was conscious but was not with it totally,' he said.

'There was a discussion about hospitals, but the paramedics said: “You are better off here Sarah, this is the best place for you”,' he added.

'We were persuaded in their arguments that she was in the best place and she did not need to be sitting in an ambulance. We accepted the situation as it was.'

inquest heard the paramedics left Sarah's home in Port Talbot at 1.40am
on 5 May 2007. She was found dead in the bathroom at 7.30am.

The inquest in Neath, South Wales, heard Sarah was battling the after-effects of a brain tumour when an ambulance was called.

Coroner Philip Rogers said there was conflicting evidence by the paramedics and Sarah's parents Kenneth and Madeline.

He said: 'There were serious failings in the way in which the crew went about their assessment and recording her condition that night.'

These included an inappropriate
method used to assess respiratory rate, no attempt to listen to Sarah's
chest with a stethoscope and no assessment of her abdomen.

'The blood pressure is likely to have
been inaccurate and there was a failure to get details of the long-term
medication Sarah was taking.


Guilty: The inquest found that paramedics were responsible for Sarah's death

'If Sarah had been taken to hospital
it was likely she would have received intravenous hydrocortisone
injections and fluids, and her death would not have occurred.'

'But given the crew's lack of knowledge and the rarity of Sarah's condition, this cannot be labelled as gross failings.'

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesman said: 'We will be giving full and urgent consideration to the coroner's narrative verdict to ensure that all opportunities are taken to continuously improve our service.'