Radio Sandwell Local News

Paramedics' hospital refusal leads to women's death

2012-12-06 00:33:54

Niyousha Haki

A swine flu victim died from complications after paramedics refused to take her to hospital three times in one night, an inquest heard.

Tragic Niyousha Haki, 28, was seen at her stepfather's home on Studland Road, Hall Green, on three separate occasions after concerned relatives died 999.

But despite having a "grossly abnormal" temperature and a high respiration and heart rate, they judged her symptoms to be 'non-life threatening'.

And instead of rushing her to hospital the medics advised her to remain at home in Birmingham, as per NHS guidance at the time of the swine flu outbreak two years' ago.

A day later Niyousha, from London, was rushed from a local medical centre to Solihull Hospital, where she suffered a cardiac arrest and never regained consciousness.

Robert Jefferson, the first paramedic to see Niryousha, told an inquest at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall: "The standard advice was, swine flu patients should not be conveyed to hospital unless they were high risk.

Niyousha Haki

"The patient was not showing signs of concern; her chest was clear and she appeared to be breathing normally, there was no evidence of pneumonia and apart from the flu she appeared to be well within herself."

Niyousha, who was unemployed, had suffered flu symptoms for five days.

She was first seen by Mr Jefferson at about 11pm on December 15, 2010, at a time when the country was in the midst of a swine flu epidemic.

A further paramedic crew attended at 1am and another at 4.40am after her uncle made 999 calls.

Despite being warned Niyousha was demanding to be taken to hospital, both crews agreed with the first medical assessment and advised her to remain at home.

Paramedic Claire McArdle, who attended the second call out, also told the hearing she had no major concerns on Niyousha's condition.

She said: "Although she had symptoms which were abnormal they didn't appear to be life threatening.

Niyousha Haki

"She had a sort of appearance of edginess, she was anxious.

"She did have a high respiration rate, it was difficult to say how much of that was symptoms of swine flu and how much it was due to the anxiety.

"There were no other signs of respiratory distress."

At the time of the tragedy, paramedics were under guidance not to take all flu cases to hospital unless they were suffering life threatening symptoms or had underlying conditions.

A pathology report revealed Niyousha died from pneumonia, with swine flu listed as a secondary cause.

A verdict on the inquest is due to be returned on Friday.

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