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Paramedics who attended the home for a Tonna dental nurse before she died are quizzed at inquest

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 16, 2013

death ... Sarah Thomas.

PARAMEDICS who attended the home of a Tonna dental nurse hours before her death have been questioned at an inquest.

Sarah Elise Thomas, 30, died on May 5, 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.

Two paramedics, David Glover and Michael Davies, attended her School Road home at 1am after Miss Thomas called 999. She had vomited that evening and was complaining of stomach pains and breathing problems.

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On day three of the hearing Mr Glover was questioned about the actions he undertook that night.

Claire Price, representing the family, asked him about the respiratory rate which he recorded as 18. The court heard that it had been estimated that her respiration rate was 36 at the time of the 999 call.

"I can't say why her breath would have dropped from 36 to 18. I don't have an explanation for it," he said.

Miss Price asked why he did not offer Miss Thomas oxygen as he described her as "struggling to catch her breath".

He said: "There was nothing in any observations that she needed oxygen."

Victoria Hiller, who is representing Mr Glover and Mr Davies, asked Mr Glover how Miss Thomas was when they left.

Mr Glover replied: "Relaxed and comfortable on the bed. I even shouted and said, 'Are you ok, do you want to go to hospital now' and she said no."

Coroner Philip Rogers also asked Mr Glover about his memory.

"This has stuck in my memory," he said. "I can be clear of the events of that day and night."

The hearing, held in Neath, also heard from Dr James Ahlquist, a consultant physician. He had been instructed to carry out a report as a medical expert.

Mr Rogers said the medical cause of death had been given to them by a pathologist as 1a circulatory collapse due to 1b Addison's disease.

Mr Rogers added: "But he said if the evidence supported it he would defer to adrenal failure."

Mr Rogers asked Dr Ahlquist if Addison's disease would be appropriate cause of death.

Dr Ahlquist said: "I would call it adrenal insufficiency."

He added that he had expected Miss Thomas's pulse to be higher from the observations carried out by the paramedic.

"In my opinion, the observations would be unlikely given that Miss Thomas died from circulatory collapse five hours later," he said.

The court also heard from Mr Davies, who was the emergency medical technician along with Mr Glover.

He said once they arrived it took him two to three minutes to reach the door. When he went in he could see Mr Glover on the landing.

"I could see David's feet and his back because he was leaning down," he said.

Mr Rogers asked him what happened when he went towards them.

"When I approached I heard velcro and I saw him put an item of equipment into his bag," he said.

Evidence from Sarah's parents, Kenneth and Madeline, previously heard that they did not see any equipment or observations take place.

Mr Glover said the discharge of care 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.

In response to that Mr Davies said: "It is totally wrong."

He added that he was informed by a colleague, John Bladen, the next day that Miss Thomas had passed away.

The inquest will resume on Monday.

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