Doctor Believed Woman Had Muscle Strain And Advised Her To Rest At Home
The husband of Doreen Marshall, who died from a pulmonary embolism, has issued the following statement after the Court of Appeal found GP, Dr Mario Schembri, was liable for her death.
Doreen had gone to see Dr Schembri on 25 April, 2014, at 3.45pm on an emergency appointment because she had developed chest pain and breathlessness and was worried that she might have had a recurrence of a clot on her lung, which had happened six years earlier.
Dr Schembri should have sent her to Southend Hospital but instead he advised her that she had probably strained a muscle and she should go home and rest. She collapsed the following morning at home in Shoeburyness at around 08.30am. Despite efforts by paramedics they were unable to resuscitate her and she was pronounced dead at the scene approximately one hour later. She was aged 64.
Dr Schembri has since retired from practice.
Doreen’s husband Ian Marshall, aged 75, said after the hearing: “Losing Doreen has been devastating for me and our family. She was a much loved wife, mother and grandmother. We are a close family with lots of grandchildren who range from their teens to much younger. Doreen had recently retired and she helped out a lot with childcare.
“We had a good circle of friends both locally and further away. We took touring holidays to Scotland and Cornwall amongst other places, just enjoying the journey. What with that and all of the family events and grandchildren, our lives were busy and happy.
“For nearly six years all of the family have had a number of questions as to what happened. Having to relive what happened in the lead up to Doreen’s death have been incredibly upsetting, however, it was vital that our family received the answers to our questions.
“The judgment confirms that if Dr Schembri had advised her to go to hospital that day, she could have been diagnosed and treated successfully. If that had happened, she would be alive today.”
Expert Opinion“The last few years have been incredibly difficult for all of Doreen’s family as they attempted to come to terms with her sudden death.
“Dr Schembri admitted that he should have referred Doreen to hospital but argued that even if she had attended, treatment would have made no difference and she would have died anyway. The Trial Judge noted in his judgment on 15 February, 2019, that the overwhelming statistical evidence was that if Doreen had been sent to hospital on the afternoon of 25 April, she would have survived. Dr Schembri nevertheless filed an appeal against that judgment and the Court of Appeal has ruled that the original judgment was correct.
“It is important that all health professionals learn lessons from this case so hopefully others do not have to suffer the heartache and pain that Doreen’s family have had to endure following her death.” Anne Kavanagh - Senior Associate Solicitor
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