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East of England Ambulance Service rebuked after vital evidence related to Leigh woman Jodie Fields' death was deleted
THE ambulance service has been heavily criticised after vital evidence, which may have helped explain why a 20-year-old woman died, was deleted.
Jodie Fields passed away unexpectedly at her home in Leigh in May last year.
Assistant coroner Yvonne Blake said the East of England Ambulance Service “lacked common sense” and had made her family suspicious by getting rid of essential information from the build-up to her death.
A pre-inquest review heard the data from the equivalent of a memory card in paramedic’s heart-starting equipment was wiped soon afterwards, making it impossible to tell exactly what was done to try to save Jodie’s life .
Ms Blake lambasted the ambulance service after its representative Neil Gaullaud told the hearing that data was deleted from paramedics’ equipment regularly to clear storage space .
She said: “A 20-year-old died and you haven’ t kept the records? I’m not happy about this.
“Anyone with common sense would have known that a 20-year-old who suddenly dies will have relatives who want to know what her treatment was.”
Ms Blake demanded to see the service’ s policy on deleting such information, adding: “I would expect in future that the trust at least makes a copy of it.
“It may not be anything sinister, but it seems sinister when the family can’t get these records.
“People become suspicious when there may not be any need for suspicions.”
Miss Fields had been visiting doctors on and off or around four months because she had been suffering from leg and chest pains and shortness of breath.
It is believed she may have died from sudden arrhythmic death syndrome , but her mother Karen and sister Kirsty have questions over whether she was diagnosed correctly by the doc- tors she had seen.
The GPs had said she was suffering from supraventricular tachycardia, a rapid heart rhythm.
They also want to know if paramedics acted correctly when they arrived at her house to treat Jodie.
Another hearing will be held later this year at a date to be set.
AFTER the hearing, Richard Dunne, a spokesman for the ambulance service, said they were already trying to obtain machines that can hold data for longer.
This particular case was still being looked at, he said, adding they would be responding to the coroner in due time .
He said that, in general: “Heart monitoring through the use of defibrillators occurs on a wide range of patients, including those with breathing difficulties, chest pains, fitting, trauma and especially cardiac arrests .
“As such, the storage of data on their memory cards can become full during normal work shifts and the current model of defibrillator does not allow for greater storage capacity.
“The trust has recognised this and recommenda tions have been made through the NHS procurement process, stating that defibrillators must enable their historical data to be held and retrieved.
“Currently, ambulance staff do print a reading from the defibrillator which stays with the unique patient care record.”
The tendering process for the supply of new defibrillators is due to start next year.
TRIBUTES were paid to Jodie Fields, who was remembered as a popular and happy woman, after she died last year .
Jodie, who was born at Rochford Hospital, went to Heycroft and Darlinghurst Primary schools in Eastwood and Leigh, before at tending Belfairs secondary school and South Essex College, in Southend.
She was a full-time carer for her mum, Karen, who suffered from asthma and she wanted to become a social worker.
The 20-year-old loved dancing and performed in pantos at the Cliffs Pavilion.
Her mother told the Echo last year: “She was happy, bubbly and always smiling.
“That is what everyone remembers, her smile.
"She was just loved by everyone.
"She had a huge circle of friends.”
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