QMC death of young mum 'might have been prevented', inquest told
THE death of a young mother at Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre "might have been prevented" had she been taken to hospital earlier, according to a coroner.
Michelle Kimberley Bell, 29, died on April 16 last year after she vomited so much that the potassium and sodium levels in her blood became dangerously low.
She was taken to hospital at about 9am and died two hours later when she had a cardiac arrest caused by low levels of potassium.
Ms Bell's family say paramedics had been to see her twice earlier in the week, and they had told them she wanted to go to hospital.
But East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) said the crews had no record of being asked to take Ms Bell to hospital.
The family are now considering taking legal action against EMAS.
At the inquest into Ms Bell's death, Nottingham Coroner's Court heard she had been feeling unwell since April 10.
An ambulance had been called to her home in Bodmin Drive, Aspley, twice before, on April 12 and 13.
The Bell family and her partner of seven years Daniel Curtis, 25, said she had asked to be taken to hospital.
But all three paramedics who arrived at the house said they had no record of this and all said they would have taken her to hospital if asked.
The inquest heard that Ms Bell, who had a nine-year-old daughter called Chantece, had a history of making herself vomit and had sought medical attention after similar episodes in 2001, 2002 and 2004.
Psychiatrist Dr Neil Holden, who dealt with Ms Bell in 2002 and 2004, said he felt she could not get over her mother's death.
She died of cancer at home in 1999 aged 42, and it was later assumed that Ms Bell was suffering an "atypical grief reaction".
He said: "Michelle did say that she felt persistently nauseated, and she would use her fingers to make herself sick."
Deputy Coroner for Notts, Stephanie Haskey, recorded a narrative verdict. She said: "Michelle Bell had a documented history of becoming acutely unwell by making herself vomit.
“She became unwell on April 10, 2011, and on April 16 she was taken to the QMC with similar presentations to previous admissions in 2001, 2002 and 2004.
“It is possible that had she been taken to hospital at any time between April 10 and 16 her death might have been prevented.”
Speaking after the hearing, Ms Bell’s father Ralph Bell, who lives in the Arboretum area of Nottingham, said: “We want to take this further against EMAS.
“We have heard at the inquest that her death might have been prevented if she had been taken to hospital before the 16th.”
Mr Curtis, who now lives in Broxtowe, said: “Michelle will always be remembered – she was an amazing person and a fantastic mum.”
A spokesperson for EMAS said: “We were sorry to hear of Michelle’s death and offer our sincere condolences to her family for the sad loss.
“However, the Coroner did not criticise EMAS for the way we responded to any of her calls for help.
“Furthermore, an independent examination of our records confirmed there were no indications that Michelle was unwell and the crews who attended had no record of her asking to be taken to hospital.
“It is clear that EMAS is not to blame for her untimely death.”
If you are struggling to cope with the death of a loved one you can call the Cruse Bereavement Care helpline on 0844 4779400.