Doctors accused my wife of faking illness – hours later she had died from a stroke
Mother-of-two was suffering violent headaches and vomiting
On her third visit to hospital she was told to 'stop shouting and making a fuss' in A&E
Family told Mrs Maddox's discharge notes had gone missingWidower bringing private legal action against hospital
13:32 GMT, 18 June 2012
A grieving widower is suing a hospital after his wife collapsed and died from a massive stroke – just hours after she was sent home accused of pretending to be ill.
Philip Maddox, 58, was told by doctors his wife Maggie, 53, needed psychiatric help because they could find nothing wrong with her despite her complaining she was in agony with severe headaches and vomiting.
An inquest heard she first went to Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent, on June 14, 2010, but was sent home, having been told there was nothing wrong with her.
Phillip Maddox holds a picture of his wife, who died in June 2010. She went back to the hospital three times before they then diagnosed a massive stroke
Then her husband took her back there 10 days later, on June 24, when she suffered similar symptoms including dizziness.
Maggie was discharged again – against her wishes – but that night at home she continued to complain she felt unwell and was driven back to the hospital by her son because Philip had to go to work. She collapsed in the hospital car park.
Staff got her into a wheelchair and took her into the Accident and Emergency department, but a nurse told her to 'stop shouting and making a fuss'.
Still, doctors did not seem to take Maggie's complaints seriously and left her in the waiting area.
Finally, she was admitted and a consultant diagnosed she had suffered a massive stroke.
Maggie, who worked in the Asda transport department, died three days later.
Her death has devastated her husband and their daughter Leah, 28, and 26-year-old son Blake.
To make matters worse, the family were subsequently told some of her medical records had not been properly kept and her discharge notes from June 24 had gone missing.
Mr Maddox said he trusted hospital staff that there was nothing wrong with his wife, even though she was in agony
Philip, a retired prison governor,
from Dartford, said: 'When I first took Maggie into hospital they
checked her over but said they couldn't find anything wrong with her.
'She was in agony but I took their word for it because they're supposed to be the experts.
second time I took Maggie to hospital the doctors said she had
psychological issues. They were saying she was pretending to be ill or
was convincing herself she was ill when she wasn't.
the time Maggie was insisting she was ill but no one listened to her.
She was vomiting in the bin in the hospital and complaining of a violent
and I asked the doctor to refer her to a psychiatrist but he said he
couldn't and advised us to take Maggie to her GP who could do that.
didn't want to leave the hospital but the doctor said if we couldn't
move her from the bed, security would have to do it. We had to bundle
her out in a wheelchair.
'It was such a distressing time because Maggie was moaning loudly in pain and the staff just thought she was making it up.'
Mr Maddox said his wife didn't want to leave the hospital the second time, but doctors said they would call security if they didn't go
He said she seemed to start feeling better that evening at home but in the early hours she woke up in pain, again complaining of the same symptoms.
Philip added: 'I felt terrible because I had to go into work that morning so I got my son to take Maggie to the hospital even though I really wanted to be with her. I felt bad because I had already taken some time off work to deal with this.
'But when they got there Maggie collapsed in the car park. My son said it was obvious she was in a very bad way but the doctors and nurses still seemed unconvinced she was really ill.'
At an inquest the coroner Roger Hatch concluded she died from natural causes. He said he was satisfied Maggie's stroke 'presented at a time which would not have changed the outcome'.
Mr Hatch added there would be 'no useful purpose' in making a formal recommendation on medical notes and records-keeping because this was an 'isolated' incident.
Philip had been hoping for an 'open' verdict.
However, he is still pressing ahead with a private legal action alleging breach of duty by the medical staff on June 24.
Richard Norman of solicitors Leo Abse and Cohen, said: 'We have taken expert medical opinion and we feel there is a case to answer for breach of duty.
'Now we are in the process of trying to establish, again through expert medical opinion, if that breach of duty affected the outcome.'
In a statement, Darent Valley Hospital NHS Trust said: 'After a thorough investigation into the facts and hearing the statements and evidence from all parties, the Coroner concluded that the care and treatment Mrs Maddox received at the hospital had been entirely appropriate and that she died of natural causes.
'We are completely satisfied that our doctors treated Mrs Maddox properly and that all of the necessary tests and investigations were performed. We offer our sincere condolences to the family and understand how difficult and distressing it can be to lose a loved one.'