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Derbyshire man with 'half his pancreas dead' told to take painkillers by paramedic

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: September 02, 2014

Derbyshire man with 'half his pancreas dead' told to take painkillers by paramedic

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AMBULANCE bosses have apologised after a patient suffering from chest pain did not receive the “immediate medical attention” he needed.

The patient was advised by a paramedic to take painkillers before being later admitted to hospital when “half of his pancreas died off”.

According to a report into the incident in Derbyshire, the wife of the man – whose identity has not been disclosed because of medical confidentiality – phoned 999 after her husband started experiencing chest pain.

It said he was advised by the paramedic who arrived to take painkillers and left at home but, two days later, his GP arranged an "urgent admission" to a county hospital.

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The report said: "(He was transferred) to a city hospital, where he was advised that half of his pancreas has died off, as he did not receive immediate medical attention."

A spokesman for East Midlands Ambulance Service said: "For reasons of patient confidentiality, we are not able to provide more information on this specific case.

"However, we would like to assure the public that we've fully investigated this serious incident and the lessons learned have been shared with staff to limit the chances of similar circumstances occurring again.

"We have also offered our sincere apologies to the patient for any distress that may have been experienced."

EMAS has classed the case, which happened in February this year, as a "serious incident".

Incidents of this kind can involve a patient unexpectedly dying, suffering some form of harm or one which could have led to harm.

The report said the level of harm experienced by the patient was "severe".

This is defined as either causing permanent injury or something which will mean the patient requires help with activities of daily living.

But it said the levels given to serious incidents "cannot necessarily be attributed to acts or omissions by EMAS staff" – saying other factors, such as a patient's pre-existing condition, could have also contributed.

The report said action taken following the incident included "reflective practice" for the paramedic and further training on abdominal assessments.

It said: "The clinician failed to act appropriately upon the findings of the examination and therefore the examination did not result in the potentially correct diagnosis."

Figures show EMAS reported 38 "serious incidents" between April 2013 and March 2014 – compared to 62 between April 2012 and March 2013.

So far this year, since April, EMAS has reported 11 of these incidents. The report said issues these relate to include needle-stick injury, care management, delayed response and incorrect call handling.

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