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Inquest into the death of Tonna nurse hears conflicting accounts of visit

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 15, 2013

Sarah Thomas

AN inquest has heard two differing accounts of what happened in the hours before a Tonna dental nurse died.

Sarah Elise Thomas, 30, died on May 5 in 2007 at her home.

Miss Thomas had battled with the after-effects of a brain tumour, which left her without two thirds of her vision. She also suffered from migraines and nausea, the court heard.

During the second day of the inquest, evidence was heard from her mother Madeline Thomas, and paramedic David Glover, who attended the School Road home hours before Miss Thomas died.

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Mr Glover attended with his colleague Michael Davies, after Miss Thomas called for an ambulance in the early hours of the morning of May 5 complaining of breathing problems and stomach pains. Earlier that night she had vomited and her father Mr Thomas had been ill with a stomach bug.

Mrs Thomas said: "This was the only time our daughter had ever called an ambulance. The fact that Sarah had called an ambulance was so out of the blue.

"Whatever Sarah was experiencing it was not something of the norm."

The court previously heard from her father Kenneth Thomas, that he had been with his daughter when she requested oxygen when the paramedics arrived. He said after they refused she collapsed. She was then laid down on a bed.

"She was gasping," said Mrs Thomas. "She was very pale. She kept saying 'oh mum the pain'."

Coroner Philip Rogers asked her if she saw the paramedics use any equipment.

"None whatsoever," she said.

He asked if they took any observations.

"There was no equipment and no observations that took place," said Mrs Thomas.

The hearing, held in Neath, later heard from Mr Glover who gave a different account of his visit.

He said he took in a response bag and a heart monitor.

Mr Rogers asked Mr Glover if Miss Thomas asked for oxygen.

"No she did not," he said.

He said he met her on the landing outside her room.

"I told Sarah I was going to place her on the floor to take some observations," he said.

Mr Glover told the court he carried out checks including her airwaves, breathing and circulation, and used the heart monitor on Miss Thomas.

Mr Rogers asked him how he noted all the measurements.

"I am writing it on my glove, which is normal for myself," he said. Mr Glover agreed that they took Miss Thomas to the bed but only "assisted her".

Mr Rogers said Mr and Mrs Thomas describe a "completely different scenario".

Mr Glover said: "I was the only one there with Sarah. They were downstairs."

In previous evidence Mr Thomas told the court that the paramedics had said their daughter was in the "best place".

He said: "We were persuaded in their arguments that she was in the best place and she did not need to be sitting in an ambulance. We accepted the situation as it was."

But Mr Glover said: "We asked numerous times if they wanted to go to hospital and they said no every time.

"I said if she did not go she would have to sign the discharge of care form."

Mr Glover said this form was signed in the bedroom by Mrs Thomas.

But in her evidence she said the form was given to her by Mr Davies at the front door after the two paramedics left.

"He was holding a clip board and he said would I mind signing this to say they have been," she said. "He said if Sarah deteriorated it did not stop me from calling another ambulance." She later added: "I did not know what I had signed."

Mrs Thomas recalled how they found their daughter dead in the morning.

"She was so cold," she said. "I remember her lips were tinged blue. I was devastated with the realisation that Sarah had gone."

The inquest continues.

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