June 13, 2019 4.54 pm This story is over 29 months old

EMAS apologises after boy died from asthma attack

The family have spoken of their heartache

East Midlands Ambulance Service have expressed their condolences to the family of an 11-year-old Lincolnshire boy after a coroner ruled he died from a survivable asthma attack.

Emotional tributes were left and a GoFundMe page raised £2,000 for the family after George Smith died after a lifelong battle with asthma.

An inquest heard he was not “thoroughly assessed” and would have probably survived if he had been taken to hospital following a first 999 call from his parents.

A crew came to George’s home in Stickney, Lincolnshire, in October 2017 after an attack – but despite assessment, it was decided that he did not need to go to hospital.

Hours later, after they returned and decided to take him, he died.

Now the devastated family have spoken of their heartache – and the East Midlands Ambulance Trust has accepted that he would probably have lived if he had been taken to hospital.

Coroner Paul Smith gave a narrative conclusion that read: “George Robert Smith was known to suffer from brittle asthma.

“He suffered a severe asthma attack at his home address at around 11pm on October 22. An ambulance was called.

“He was not thoroughly assessed in accordance with policy and he was not taken to hospital as he should have been.

“There was no handover to a clinician and he was left in the care of his parents.

“He suffered a further severe asthma attack and another ambulance was called. He was taken to Boston Pilgrim Hospital at 4.35am. Attempts to revive him stopped at 4.55am.

“On the balance of probabilities he would have survived if he was taken in the first ambulance.”

In a statement which was released after the inquest Sue Cousland, EMAS General Manager for Lincolnshire, said: “I would like to offer my sincere condolences to George’s family, all of whom will have faced a very difficult time.

“We undertook a detailed internal review after this incident to learn important lessons, and the lead clinician underwent a formal investigation as part of our disciplinary process.

“When a child dies, there is never enough we can do to prevent it from happening again, but what we have done is implement major changes to our frontline processes.

“We have introduced a paediatric early warning scoring system during assessment of patients aged under 18. This is similar to the system we use for adults and helps to identify seriously unwell children.

“We have also included this incident in all our mandatory training for frontline ambulance crews as an example of lessons that have been learned.

“We also have clinician to clinician support available via our Clinical Assessment Team to aid clinical decision making, including when a patient should be taken to hospital.

“All of this comes too late for George and his parents, and we deeply regret this.”

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