20-year-old who died suddenly sought medical help for three months before her death (From Southend Standard)
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Jodie Fields, 20, saw four GPs over several weeks, an inquest heard
A YOUNG woman who died of "sudden adult death syndrome" sought medical help for nearly three months before her death, an inquest heard.
Jodie Fields, 20, from Glendale Gardens, Leigh, complained of shortness of breath, rapid heart beat and other ailments to four GPs in the run up to her untimely death following heart failure.
Chelmsford Coroners Court heard yesterday that due to ambulance shortages paramedics were dispatched from Basildon Hospital and took 24 minutes to get to her home after the vehicle's sat nav sent it off course.
The court heard Miss Fields visited Queensway Surgery in Sutherland Boulevard, Leigh, on February 23, 2012 after fainting at university, saying she was short of breath and had a racing heart.
She saw four GPs over several weeks, including one who had been placed under supervision by the General Medical Council, after his record keeping was brought into question.
The medics concluded her high pulse rate was put down to anxiety and stress of moving home, and it was not until a fifth appointment on May 15 that she was referred to a heart specialist.
But she died five days later after suffering cardiac arrest at home.
She was found unconscious by sister Kirsty Fields at 9.05pm on May 20.
Ross Dixon, an East of England emergency care practitioner, arrived at 9.12pm, but with no ambulance he was only able to give basic life support using an oxygen mask.
At 9.18pm, he requested ambulance assistance, but the court heard an ambulance didn’t arrive from Basildon until 9.42pm after the crew got lost when a sat nav sent them the wrong way up a one-way-street.
Mr Dixon said Jodie was initially writhing on a mattress on the floor, but by 9.24pm she became unresponsive with no pulse.
She received adrenaline at 9.47pm, but was pronounced dead at the scene at 10.03pm.
Pathologist Konrad Wolfe from Southend Hospital gave the cause of death as sudden adult death syndrome, as the post mortem found the heart largely undamaged.
However, he said small blood clots had been identified in a chamber on the right side of the heart, with some fluid on the lungs and a trace of blood.
There was also a small blood clot found on her left calf.
Under cross examination by legal representatives acting for the Fields family, he conceded the clots were "probably related" to a "more longstanding cardio problem that pre-dated her death”, such as a disturbance in the normal heart rhythm.
The legal counsel also said Jodie should have been referred to a specialist from the outset and asked that the court investigate further to try to prevent future similar deaths.
However, Dr Patrick Heck, a heart specialist, who was commissioned to investigate the care Jodie received, exonerated the actions of all four medics and said it was not certain that further investigation would have found an underlying problem.
The coroner, Caroline Beasley-Murray, accepted the reports of Drs Heck and Wolf that the cause of death was sudden adult death syndrome and gave a verdict of natural causes.
She said: "The court accepts (both experts) findings and will be writing sudden adult death syndrome."
Turning to Jodie's family she added: "Not only have you lost a much loved daughter and sister, you have had the ordeal of listening to this harrowing evidence and have done that with dignity."
Jodie’s family were too upset to comment.
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