Woman died after operator chose not to send ambulance

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted on Thursday, October 6th, 2016

A woman suffered a cardiac arrest and died after an ambulance telephone operator decided not to send an ambulance, but instead referred the case to NHS Direct.

The woman had undergone gastric bypass surgery in February 2009. She was uncomfortable with pain for two days in hospital before being sent home with painkillers.After a few days at home her condition had seriously deteriorated. Her husband phoned an ambulance and described her symptoms to the operator. He said she was unable to cope with the pain, was struggling for breath and felt like she was going to pass out.

Despite this, the operator chose not to send an ambulance and referred the matter to NHS Direct. The woman was visited two days later by a GP who realised the seriousness of her condition and called an ambulance.

Unfortunately the woman suffered a cardiac arrest on the way to hospital and was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. She had been suffering from post-operative sepsis for more than a week.

Her husband took legal action against the ambulance service. He said it had been negligent in failing to send an ambulance and failing to convey the seriousness of his wife’s condition when referring the case to NHS Direct.

Had an ambulance been sent when the first call was made, then the woman’s condition could have been treated and she would have been highly likely to survive.

The ambulance service denied a breach of duty. However, it agreed to an out-of-court settlement of £150,000 to compensate the husband for the loss of his wife.

X said: “How tragic that this woman lost her life because of a poor decision made by a member of our emergency services. Although no amount of money can make up for the loss, her widower is entitled to compensation to ease any financial struggles he may now have to face.”

Please contact us if you have suffered an injury because of negligent actions from a medical professional. You may be entitled to compensation.


Total Damages: £150,000 (£150,000 RPI)

Trial/settlement date: 1/10/2014

Type of Award: Out of Court Settlement

Awards and Accolades

  • acn clinical negligence
  • acn conveyancing quality
  • acn family law
  • acn family law advanced
  • Lexcel
  • AVMA
  • solicitors_regulation
  • Mindful Employer
  • Resolution Specialist