Tuesday 12 December 2017

Woman went into cardiac arrest while waiting for ambulance - inquest hears

Gloria Soflett when she was in her 20s
Gloria Soflett when she was in her 20s

Louise Roseingrave

The patient care records of a 65 year old woman who went into cardiac arrest while waiting for an ambulance went missing following her death, an inquest heard.

Gloria Sofflet lived with her husband at Merville Court, an assisted living facility run by Dublin City Council in Finglas, Dublin 11. The woman’s family believe she died ‘unnecessarily’ and said they plan to take legal action over her treatment.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that Mrs Sofflet was feeling unwell on the night of February 16 2015 and went to bed early.

Her husband George Sofflet said he heard her call from the bedroom around 9pm and he found her on the floor. He pulled the emergency chord in the apartment, a system connected to a Telecall service based in Northern Ireland.

The service contacted the National Ambulance Service in Tallaght, Dublin and an ambulance was dispatched.

Mr Sofflet said the Telecall service called him back three times seeking further information such as the address, which he told them they should know.

Giving evidence, National Ambulance Service advance paramedic Andy Wilson said he was departing Beaumont Hospital and intended on travelling to St James’s Hospital to replenish medical supplies when the emergency call came through.

He said the ambulance was dispatched at 9.08pm and arrived at the Finglas address at 9.15pm but had difficultly entering the gated complex.

“I hit the siren to draw attention to people inside the courtyard,” Mr Wilson said.

The gate opened but the ambulance crew had difficulty finding the apartment. Mr Wilson said he then saw a man beckoning from a balcony.

On arrival at the Sofflet’s flat paramedics began resuscitation and continued for twenty minutes but Mrs Sofflet remained in cardiac arrest. Following her mother’s death, Samantha Boland sought her mother’s patient care records from the HSE but was told they were missing.

Gloria Sofflet died of a pulmonary embolism due to deep vein thrombosis, according to an autopsy. Ms Boland said her mother had been prescribed the blood thinning medication warfarin in 2008 but was taken off warfarin in 2011.

“I want to know why my mother was taken off warfarin,” Ms Boland said.

Garda Brendan Hogan said he arrived as the ambulance crew were leaving. He said the woman’s partially clothed body was on the bedroom floor, which was bloodstained, with evidence of medical paraphernalia around her.

“We had to walk in and see my mum in that manner. It was awful. That’s my last memory of my mother,” Samantha Boland said. The family’s suffering had been compounded by this and the ‘differences and discrepancies’ from reports she obtained following her mother’s death, she said.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane adjourned the inquest to December 13 when further evidence concerning Mrs Sofflet's medical treatment with regard to warfarin in particular will be heard.

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