A coroner has blasted bungling paramedics who dismissed a dad’s agonising chest pains as a PANIC ATTACK – just hours before he died of cardiac arrest.
Tragic Jeffrey Corbin, 59, was even persuaded not to go to hospital by an ambulance crew who told him he would have to wait up to SEVEN HOURS in A&E for treatment.
Shockingly, when he collapsed in his bedroom 24 hours later on April 20 last year it took 75 minutes for a first responder to turn up after he was categorised as a low priority.
National government targets require an ambulance to attend an address within 30 minutes of a 999 call.
But because of extra demand over the Easter weekend it took a further 14 minutes before an ambulance finally arrived at his home in Sneyd Green, Stoke-on-Trent.
When the retired factory worker was finally taken to hospital it was too late and the father-of-three was pronounced dead.
On Tuesday (3/3) a coroner slammed West Midlands Ambulance Service and said if paramedics had done their job properly Mr Corbin would still be alive.
Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, North Staffordshire Coroner Ian Smith said: “Clearly a wrong decision8 was made.
“There’s no doubt Jeffrey Corbin should have been in hospital and I’m quite satisfied that had he been in hospital, tests would have been done, and the likelihood is he would have still been alive.
“In the paramedic’s medical reports, there’s no mention of anything other than panic attacks and anxiety, but his post-mortem examination results showed he had recently suffered an acute heart attack.
“But did they tell him he needed to get into an ambulance or did they give him an option? The next day he collapsed on the bedroom floor.
“An ambulance was called for at 2.27am, but due to increased demand a single paramedic did not arrive until 3.42am.”
Mr Corbin’s widow Kathryn, 53, is now suing the NHS and West Midlands Ambulance Service for negligence.
She told the inquest: “When the paramedics arrived, I didn’t feel there was any urgency.
“The paramedic said Jeff could be at the hospital for about six or seven hours waiting for a doctor.
“At the time I didn’t think Jeff was so poorly.
“The paramedics gave him the option, but if we had been told on that morning that he really needed to go to hospital then we would have gone.
“But there was just no urgency to get him there.
“Jeff was an absolute diamond. He loved everything and everybody.”
Paramedic Richard Harris denied he tried to dissuade Mr Corbin from attending hospital.
He told the hearing: “I thought he would be better having further examinations at the hospital, which is what I recommended.
“I would never make recommendations to a patient travelling to the hospital based on waiting times.”
The post-mortem examination found Mr Corbin died from a heart attack.
Speaking yesterday (Wed) Kathryn, who had been married to Mr Corbin for 25 years, slammed the ambulance service.
She said: “I feel very strongly that if Jeff had gone to hospital the first time he would still be with us.
“It was 6am on the Saturday (April 19) when he woke up with shortness of breath, chest pains and a shooting pain going up and down his left arm.
“I’m not medically trained but that says heart attack to me. I dialled 111 and told them his symptoms and they passed it through to the ambulance service.
“When the paramedics turned up they just said to me and Jeff ‘it’s a panic attack’. They also said he’d pulled his chest in the panic attack which is why he had pain there.
“Looking back now I wish I’d pushed for them to take him to A&E but they didn’t seem to bothered and we trusted them.
“They put the frighteners on us basically. They said they could take Jeff to hospital but said he’d probably be in A&E for up to seven hours waiting for treatment.
“He’d only just come out of hospital after having a knee operation and was understandably not keen to go back but he would have done if the paramedics had advised him to.”
Throughout the day Mr Corbin, who had two grown-up children with Kathryn and one daughter from a previous marriage, suffered shortness of breath and chest pains until he finally collapsed in the early hours of the following day.
Mrs Corbin, a check-out assistant at Asda, added: “When Jeff collapsed on the Sunday (April 20) I dialled 999 and they said someone would be with us soon.
“I didn’t know it then but his case was classed as category C which is low priority. When no one turned up after 40 minutes I called again and they said a First Responder was on their way.
“He didn’t turn up until over an hour later and as soon as he saw Jeff his face dropped and he turned to me and said, ‘What on earth is he doing here? He needs to be in hospital.’
“He got on the radio and an ambulance was called but it was too late.
“Jeff and I were planning to renew our wedding vows in July which would have been our 25th anniversary and I feel robbed of losing him.
“He had never had heart problems before and I believe he was let down.”
The family are being represented by law firm Irwin Mitchell.
Lawyer Rebecca Risby said: “This has been an extremely difficult time for Jeff’s family who lost a loving father under very tragic circumstances.”
April 19, 2014
6am: Jeffrey Corbin complains of shortness of breath and shooting chest pains. Wife Kathryn dials 111 who call ambulance.
6.25am: Paramedics Rita Davies and Richard Harris attend house and dismiss his symptoms as panic attack and leave.
April 20, 2014
2.27am: Mr Corbin suffers chest pains and collapses in bed. Kathryn dials 999 who say paramedic is on his way.
3.42am: First responder Robert Baker attends and calls ambulance.
3.56am: Ambulance attends house and takes Mr Corbin to hospital.
4.30am: Mr Corbin pronounced dead at North Staffordshire Hospital.