Trudy Glenister pregnancy death: Ambulance service apologises

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Media captionPaula Chapman criticises the failures of the East of England Ambulance Trust

The East of England Ambulance Service has apologised after student paramedics sent to a pregnant woman, failed to realise she was bleeding to death.

Trudy Glenister, 38, of Great Wakering, Essex, died in 2011 after suffering an ectopic pregnancy.

But her inquest heard only two students went to the house and they failed to realise the severity of her condition.

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray said there had been "serious failings".

The inquest in Chelmsford heard that on 11 April 2011 an ambulance was called after Ms Glenister, who was five-weeks pregnant, complained of severe abdominal pains.

'Very sorry'

Two student paramedics arrived and gave her pain relief, but the court was told that they failed to spot that Ms Glenister might have internal bleeding and believed her condition was improving.

They did not use blue lights or sirens to transport her to hospital, as it was thought they would cause undue anxiety.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Trudy Glenister with her daughter Emma

The inquest was told it took the pair 40 minutes to take her to Southend Hospital, less than seven miles away, with the ambulance having to queue because it had not informed the hospital of the severity of her condition.

Ms Glenister went into cardiac arrest and died soon after arrival. She died from internal bleeding caused by the ectopic pregnancy, a post-mortem examination found.

Ms Beasley-Murray criticised the trust for sending student paramedics on the call and failing to properly train them on ectopic pregnancy.

'A lottery'

The inquest heard four out of eight ambulances in the Southend area at the time of the incident were entirely crewed by student paramedics.

Dr Anthony Marsh, chief executive of the ambulance service, said he was "very sorry", adding it was a "key priority" to have a fully-trained paramedic on every ambulance.

Ms Glenister's sister, Paula Chapman, said: "All they had to do because they were unqualified was to get her to the hospital as quickly as possible.

"We have to have qualified staff and if not, the ambulance trust need to be honest with people calling 999 that it is a lottery and they might only get trainee staff."

Ms Chapman said the family was considering legal action against the ambulance trust.

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