Peterborough father of two lay dying at city GP practice while his wife sat unaware in waiting room, inquest told

A dad-of-two was dying from cardiac arrest at his Peterborough GP practice while his wife was sat unaware in the waiting room next door, an inquest heard today.

Tuesday, 20th November 2018, 3:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th November 2018, 7:11 pm
Caroline Currie protesting outside Old Fletton Surgery about the death of her husband David Dixon-Currie

David Dixon-Currie, 50 died in hospital after hours of deteriorating at the doctors surgery where nurses failed to pick up that he was developing cardiac arrest.

Nurses at Old Fletton Surgery in Peterborough thought his deterioration was gastroenteritis and ordered a 'non emergency ambulance' before calling his wife to bring new clothes.

But when David suddenly grew pale and breathless, it became clear he was in cardiac arrest, an emergency ambulance was called and he was rushed to hospital.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

David Dixon-Currie with wife Caroline and their two sons. Photo: SWNS

Speaking prior to the inquest, David's Wife Caroline, 39, told how she arrived at the surgery and witnessed medics 'running around with defibrillators' but that no one told her that her husband was dying.

She received a phone call from a nurse earlier that day on October 3 asking her to bring clothes for David as he 'had a diarrhoea accident'.

But Caroline, who will give evidence later in the hearing, previously said that when she arrived and sat in the waiting room she had no idea that her husband was dying.

Surgery nurses say that David had not shown signs of cardiac arrest, despite his claims that he had chest pain through the night.

David Dixon-Currie

On duty Nurse Claire Stilgrove told the hearing at Huntingdon Coroner's Court that: "At no point during the time I saw him that day did he complain of chest pain or shortage of breath."

She said that had he reported chest pains on the phone on the morning of October 3 or at any moment in the surgery, an emergency ambulance would have been called for.

She added: "If he had told me he was experiencing chest pain that morning we would have called for an ambulance straight away.

"When he phoned that morning he also did not have chest pains."

Ms Stilgrove said that she was 'able to exclude a cardiac arrest' when discussing his illness over the phone that morning.

David arrived at the surgery that morning for a 10.30am appointment after vomiting that morning having experienced 'severe back pain' and 'dizziness'.

At the reception he said that was feeling 'unwell' as he 'leaned over the reception desk' with 'his 'head down'.

Shortly after, he was found by nurses sitting on the floor of the bathroom having vomited, and again told that he was unwell.

He was put in a wheechair by nurses and taken to treatment room where observations were made and a 'non urgent ambulance was called' to arrive in the hour.

Ms Stilgrove, who began monitoring him intermittently said: "He appeared like a patient that had gastroenteritis. He was talking to me, he was sitting up and he was walking around."

The inquest heard how David made repeated trips to the loo from the observation room but Ms Stilgrove reiterated that he showed no signs of developing cardiac arrest.

On his final trip to the bathroom she checked on him and added: "He was as well as someone with gastroenteritis could appear. He was not short of breath, he was not pale, he was not clammy.

"He was a little off colour he was a little tired perhaps."

David was said to 'deteriorate quickly' after after returning to the observation room and making a call while the nurse was out.

Ms Stilgrove added: "I heard him talking. I heard him talking on the phone and I gave him privacy before I returned to the room."

"When I returned he asked to lie down and he lay on the couch and at first he was fine but then he started to go pale and was breathless.

"This is where it became clear."

Paramedics arrived and gave CPR to David at 1.40pm, more than two and a half hours after David arrived at the surgery and became ill.

He was rushed to Peterborough City Hospital with a defibrillator connected to him where he was declared dead at 3pm.

A post mortem concluded that David died of acute left ventricular failure which was only aided by gastroenteritis.

Dr Kaushik Pillalamarri who was treating David at the surgery told the inquest that the symptoms for gastroenteritis alone would “not qualify for a 999 call”.

He added that had David reported chest pains at “any point during his time” at the GP surgery, he would have upgraded the non emergency call to a 999.

He said: “ I could never have guessed it was acute ventricular failure in my wildest dreams.

“If only he had said to us he had chest pains. We have an ECG machine in the next room.

“But when I asked him what he felt he never said he had chest pain.”

The inquest continues tomorrow (wed).