Trust Apologises After Man Dies Following Paramedic’s ‘Failure To Spot Treatable Condition’

Loved Ones Hope Lessons Will Be Learned On First Anniversary Of Death

04.03.2015

The family of a Southend man who died from a treatable condition despite his loved ones taking him to A&E and calling an ambulance twice within a six-hour period have demanded justice and that lessons are learned after receiving a letter of apology regarding his case – ahead of the first anniversary of his death.

Steven “Jacko” Jackson, 37, passed away on March 5th 2014 after he attended the Accident and Emergency department at Southend Hospital around 7am, complaining of difficulty breathing and swallowing.

He was sent home but, just three hours later, his fiancée had to call an ambulance as his condition continued to deteriorate. Paramedics provided treatment but stated he did not need hospital care and just three hours later, after another ambulance was called at around 1pm, he suffered a cardiac arrest and died.

The family of Steven Jackson, who received a letter of apology from East of England Ambulance Trust with an acceptance that paramedics should have identified the underlying condition he was suffering from and conveyed him to hospital, have now called on medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help them gain justice regarding his death.

Expert Opinion
Steven’s family have endured an incredibly difficult 12 months, not only having to try to cope with their loss but also come to terms with the admission that more should have been done to help him.

"While we are in the early stages of helping Steven’s family in their legal claim regarding his death, this is about more than justice for him – they are desperate to ensure that lessons are learned from his case and that patient safety is improved to prevent other people suffering the same problems that he endured."
Louise Forsyth, Associate

Steven Jackson, who worked as a Steel Erector, had been suffering from a sore throat for several days when his condition failed to improve and his fiancée Shelley took him to A&E at Southend Hospital. At around 7am on March 5th, an out-of-hours doctor told him to purchase over the counter medication and sent him home.

At 10am, an ambulance was called to his home as his condition deteriorated, with his fiancée describing that he looked pale with purple lips. Paramedics spent an hour assessing him before diagnosing a virus and saying he did not require hospital treatment. At 1pm, another ambulance was called and Steven suffered a cardiac arrest and died.

It was subsequently identified that Steven was suffering from epiglottitis, the inflammation and swelling of the epiglottis behind the root of the tongue which is regarded as a medical emergency and can significantly restrict oxygen supply to the lungs. It is treated with antibiotics.

A complaint was made to East of England Ambulance Trust and the chief executive issued a letter of apology to the family, accepting that paramedics should have spotted an underlying condition and also should have sent Steven to hospital for acute assessment and treatment.

Simon Watkins, the husband of Steven’s sister, said: “The entire family have been left completely devastated by losing Steve and the manner in which it happened has made it particularly unbearable.

“Epiglotittis is a critical condition, but one which is treatable with antibiotics. The family know that had he received appropriate treatment he would be alive and with us today. This makes losing him even more difficult to bear.

“The ambulance trust has stated in its letter that failings were made including a failure to identify four separate indicators of sepsis and a failure to take a sufficient history of previous hospital attendance which led to a failure to appreciate the severity of the situation – and the decision not to take Steve to hospital.

“The past year has been so difficult and while we know nothing will bring Steve back, we simply will not allow this matter to rest. Over 400 of his family and friends attended his funeral and, on behalf of his many friends and in Steve’s memory, the family are determined those responsible for his death are held accountable and that this is not allowed to happen again.”