A patient who died less than three hours after a paramedic was called to his home would have survived if he had been given “appropriate treatment”, a coroner has ruled.
Keith Bandy, aged 30, dialed 999 at 5.36am on May 22, 2010, after he experienced severe breathing difficulties. He had been unwell the night before.
A paramedic then attended his home, in Hammerstone Lane, Briar Hill, Northampton, but left after just 16 minutes, telling operators Mr Bandy had become “totally uncooperative” after he tried and failed to assess him.
However,his mother found him collapsed at 7.50am the same day and he was pronounced dead less than an hour later.
A two-day inquest, which concluded yesterday (Wednesday), heard evidence that the paramedic who attended the “category A” 999 call left vital equipment in his car when he arrived at the house and did not test the amount of oxygen in Mr Bandy’s body, despite his breathing problems.
The paramedic, Clive Leach, who was based at Mereway ambulance station, then failed to record his visit properly on a patient form, it was said. He told the inquest at County Hall how he tried he get Mr Bandy, who had asthma, to blow twice into a peak flow meter.
After failing to blow hard enough, Mr Bandy then “threw himself” onto his bed and ignored Mr Leach, the paramedic said. He then “shrugged away” Mr Leach’s hand when he placed it on his shoulder.
After ringing his control room the paramedic then left.
Mr Leach, now retired, said he had not been concerned by Mr Bandy’s welfare as he was not clammy and his face was not pale. However, medical experts told the coroner that if Mr Bandy had indeed become uncooperative it may have been down to a shortage of oxygen in his body. They said it could have been a sign he was critically ill.
Dr David Sprigings, a heart consultant at Northampton General Hospital, told the coroner he believed Mr Bandy would have survived if he had been taken to hospital for treatment straight away.
Independent expert, Mark Ainsworth-Smith, compiled a report for the coroner and concluded he had concerns about the “quality of care” Mr Bandy had received.
He died of bronchopneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a post-mortem examination found. Recording a narrative verdict, Northamptonshire Coroner Anne Pember said: “There was a failure to determine whether Keith Bandy’s lack of co-operation was due to hypoxia or any other medical condition or whether he was just being non-compliant.
“There was also a failure to measure Keith Bandy’s oxygen saturation which could be vital in assessing a patients’ respiratory level. On the balance of probabilities, if Keith Bandy had been given appropriate treatment and been conveyed to hospital it is likely he would have survived.”
She said she will also write to East Midlands Ambulance Service.
The paramedic who treated Keith Bandy told an inquest this week how the 30-year-old “did not appear to be that unwell”.
Clive Leach was the fast responce paramedic called to Mr Bandy’s home in Briar Hill on the morning of his death.
He told Northamptonshire’s coroner how Mr Bandy was able to stand up and speak to him during his visit.
However, Mr Bandy was pronounced dead less than three hours after the 999 call and after Mr Leach left the house because the patient was “uncooperative”. Mr Leach said: “He did not cause me concern from his physical signs.
“If I had been worried I would have said I was worried and I would have got help.”
After giving evidence, Mr Leach told Mr Bandy’s family: “May I say I feel dreadful. I can’t imagine how you feel. For your loss I am very sorry.”
The Chronicle & Echo contacted East Midlands Ambulance Service for a comment, but at the time of going to press the service had failed to comment on the verdict.