Heartbroken parents of mother, 29, found dead at home with her two-year-old daughter on her chest slam ambulance crew who missed signs of her heart attack when they visited hours earlier
- EXCLUSIVE: Lauren Page Smith’s parents vowed to get justice for their daughter
The parents of a mother who was found dead at her home just hours after paramedics had given her the all-clear have now accused the emergency services of ‘letting her die’.
Emma Carrington, 49, had to perform CPR on Lauren Page Smith, 29, after she discovered her lying on the bathroom floor with her two-year-old daughter clinging to her chest saying ‘Mummy won’t wake up’.
Ms Carrington and Lauren’s father Geoffrey, 56, are now calling for the two paramedics involved in the incident to be sacked and have vowed to do whatever it takes to get justice for their daughter.
In a heartbreaking interview with MailOnline, Ms Carrington said: ‘I blame them two. I want their jobs. I blame them. Nothing’s going to bring Lauren back but I don’t want this happening to anybody ever again.’
Her husband Mr Carrington also said that the couple got ‘no comfort’ from Lauren’s inquest two weeks ago, adding: ‘It just rubber-stamped what we already thought, that they basically let her die.’
The distraught parents have also claimed that ambulance technician Jodie Hardwick – who led the tests on Lauren – ‘smirked and applied lipstick’ before giving evidence at the inquest.
A coroner ruled on November 1 that Lauren died after ‘gross failures’ in her care when West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) crews failed to spot that there was a ‘clear sign’ of a cardiac event in progress. But they did not rule there was ‘neglect’.
Lauren’s parents Emma Carrington (right) and Geoffrey Carrington (left), 56, are calling for the paramedics to be sacked and have vowed to do whatever it takes to get justice for their daughter. Lauren is pictured in the frame
Lauren Page Smith (pictured) was found dead at her home with her toddler trying to wake her up hours after paramedics had given her the all-clear
She was discovered by her mother lying on the bathroom floor with her two-year-old baby (pictured together) clinging to her chest saying ‘mummy won’t wake up’.
Lauren’s parents (pictured) have claimed that ambulance technician Jodie Hardwick – who led the tests on Lauren – ‘smirked and applied lipstick’ before giving evidence at the inquest
Ms Hardwick and her senior colleague and paramedic Laura Smith were called out to Lauren’s home in Wolverhampton on January 6 because she had reported vomiting and a sore throat on a 111 call.
When they arrived, they were told she was also suffering from chest pains – but reported no concerns after carrying out an electrocardiogram (ECG) test to check Lauren’s heart rhythm and electrical activity.
Lauren, who was an administrator, died because of a sudden heart attack following a blood clot in the lung hours later, a post-mortem examination found.
When asked what she would say to the paramedics if she had the chance, a furious Ms Carrington replied: ‘You wouldn’t be able to print it. It’s not going to bring them back but I’d like them to admit that they failed her.’
WMAS confirmed to MailOnline that the two ambulance workers are not currently working and will have to undergo retraining before returning. Both will be supervised to ensure their understanding of the issues identified has been addressed, they added.
Speaking at their Wolverhampton home, where Lauren’s toddler will now grow up, the parents also said claimed they have never received an apology for what happened to their daughter – something WMAS denies.
‘They’ve apologised in public but personally we’ve never had an apology,’ Ms Carrington said.
She said they only had an apology from the ambulance investigator – who no longer works for the Trust. He described Lauren’s death as a ‘learning curve’.
Lauren Page Smith (pictured) had called 111 because she was vomiting and had a sore throat. When paramedics arrived she also reported chest pains
Still raw with emotion from the death of his daughter, Mr Carrington (right) said that they got ‘no comfort’ from Lauren’s inquest two weeks ago
Lauren’s parents have dedicated a shrine to their ‘darling’ daughter who died at her home on January 6
The shrine features touching photos and messages of Lauren, who was 29 when she died earlier this year
Lauren’s daughter (pictured) will now grow up with her grandparents. Mr and Mrs Carrington fear the long-term damage that could be caused by seeing her mother die
She recalled: ‘I said ‘a learning curve?’ And I won’t tell you what I said to him.
‘That’s what I was told. Lauren’s death was a learning curve, we’ve had no apology. No phone call, no email, no face to face. No one has ever said sorry.’
WMAS say they have apologised at least twice in person to the family.
The family were speaking after Jo Lees, area coroner for the Black Country, told the inquest that the fact paramedics reported no concerns on the ECG was likely to have affected Lauren’s decision not to attend hospital and there had been ‘gross failures’ in her care.
However, Ms Lees also ruled that there was not enough evidence to suggest she would have survived had the ECG results been interpreted correctly. The coroner said she was unable to reach a finding of neglect but, delivering a narrative conclusion, noted Lauren’s abnormal ECG reading was incorrectly read.
Ms Lees said the interpretation of ECG tests was a fundamental part of the job for paramedics but there were three abnormal indicators which had been missed.
The Carringtons revealed how technician Ms Hardwick did not seem to care about the young mother’s death and was more focused on how she looked at the inquest.
Filled with anger and raw emotion, Ms Carrington said: ‘I took a picture of Lauren and I pointed it to them so they could see Lauren. When they called Jodie to the stand, she opened up her rucksack, she put her lipstick on, she checked her lipstick, she did her hair and she went on the stand.
The Carringtons revealed how technician Ms Hardwick did not seem to care about the young mother’s death and was more focused on how she looked at the inquest. Pictured: Lauren Page Smith
Lauren is pictured with her father Geoffrey. He said he would describe Lauren not only as a daughter but a ‘mate’
Lauren is pictured with her mother Emma. Emma told MailOnline that the pair were like ‘best friends’
‘All through, she was spinning the chair, not a care in the world and smirking.’
She continued: ‘Having to do CPR on my only child, with my granddaughter on my lap, the paramedics know this. But they’re not bothered.
‘At the inquest when we had breaks, they were having something to eat and laughing. We were all just breaking but if it was as if it was an outing.
‘And if they are still on the road now, which I presume they are, I can’t believe the Trust haven’t even suspended them.
‘They’ve took my world away and they’ve took my granddaughter’s world away.’
Her husband added: ‘It’s going to live for them for the rest of their lives but I don’t think – especially the technician – cares.’
Lauren’s parents have set up a touching shrine in their hallway which is filled with photos of Lauren and her daughter.
Ahead of the inquest at Black Country Coroner’s Court, lawyers for the family told MailOnline the two paramedics had ‘a significant gap in their training’. Following the ruling, they confirmed they are planning to sue to Trust for ‘clinical negligence’.
Lauren was an only child. Here, the family are pictured as a three when she was a young girl
Now that Lauren’s daughter has moved into her grandparent’s home, there are plenty of her toys in the living room
WMAS’ own investigation found clinicians felt ‘falsely reassured’ that Lauren’s condition was ‘not overly concerning’ because of how old she was and that she appeared to be fine.
Her calm demeanour meant that medical staff did not believe the pain score she gave them, the report found.
The report concluded that the discharge was not safe or appropriate and that the clinicians ‘conveyed incomplete information to the 111 service about Lauren’s condition’.
At the inquest, Ms Lees raised concerns surrounding training at WMAS and said she would be outlining them in a prevention of future deaths report, which the ambulance service will be forced to respond to.
She said she would also be reporting the two paramedics who had attended the scene to The Health and Care Professions Council.
Despite the ruling of no neglect, Ms Carrington said: ‘To me, it’s neglect. It’s not going to bring Lauren back but they did neglect Lauren. There wasn’t just one thing on that ECG, there were three things on there.’
Lauren’s parents say that the health workers were not ‘concerned’ and left Lauren’s house because one needed to use the bathroom at the nearby New Cross hospital. They say Lauren’s report was not written up until after this.
Ms Carrington explained: ‘They said there would be a four hour wait and they’d do her observations and they’d send her home. I even said to her on the phone ‘do you want me to come up’ and she said ‘no I’m fine, I’m gonna bath the baby and then I’m coming to yours’.’
They say that two sets of observations were unusually done very close together and that ‘there was no second ECG done on Lauren’.
Ms Carrington said: ‘Lauren asked if she was having a heart attack and the technician said ‘no you’re not’.’
‘They weren’t concerned,’ Ms Carrington added. ‘That just proves there wasn’t concern.’
The family said it also stated in one of the witness statements that they saw Lauren be sick as they left, which has left them wondering why they didn’t go back and check on her.
Lauren’s mother had found her daughter lying on the floor at her apartment in Wolverhampton on January 6. She said her ‘best friend’ Lauren lived just run the corner.
The court heard the paramedics had been dispatched to the young mother’s home following a 111 call for advice.
Ms Hardwick and Ms Smith carried out an ECG test but they misinterpreted the results and failed to spot the signs from an auto diagnostic monitor of ‘abnormal findings for an 18-39 female’.
Ms Hardwick said when she read her ECG results she saw nothing to give her cause for concern and told Lauren she couldn’t explain her symptoms, advising her to go to hospital for further tests. But she said that Lauren had declined.
Lauren is pictured with her mother Emma. The family have said they will do whatever it takes to get justice for Lauren
‘When I advised her to go she said she saw on the news how busy hospitals were,’ Ms Hardwick said. ‘I got the general impression she didn’t feel like she needed to go.’
Ms Smith told the inquest she had applied the ECG leads and said there were ‘no clear issues’.
But a distraught Mr Carrington said: ‘They gave her a false sense of security.’ He continued: ‘They seem to dismiss young people of chest pains.’
His wife added that they could see it in ‘black and white that she was having a heart attack but they couldn’t be a**** to do a second ECG, or even read the diagnosis on the bottom’.
‘They just said to her well if we take you to hospital it’s a four hour wait.’
Ms Carrington continued: ‘How dare you just leave her there with a two-year-old and as they leave she’s being sick, but they were not concerned. They aren’t writing up paperwork they’re going to New Cross to use their toilet. It just shows they reassured Lauren she was fine.’
Matthew Ward, a consultant paramedic and head of clinical practice at WMAS, later reviewed the ECG reading and said it had been abnormal and warranted further investigation.
Both paramedics claimed they had not fully interpreted the ECG reading as there were certain indicators they had not been trained to look out for.
However, this was disputed by WMAS patient safety learning lead Eleanor Ball.
She could not answer if the ambulance service had identified whether both paramedics required additional training following the incident, but said clinicians could contact the training department for further training if it was something they felt was needed.
Heartbreaking tributes have been set up on a shrine for Lauren at her parent’s home in Wolverhampton
The court in Oldbury, West Midlands, heard that when Ms Carrington later arrived at the address she tried to revive Lauren with CPR.
Ms Carrington said: ‘It’s wrong. It’s just so wrong. She should be here now, we shouldn’t be doing this.
‘Lauren would have been 30 in March. We’ve missed her 30th birthday. We’ve missed mother’s day. She’s missed her daughter’s third birthday, Christmas, she loved Christmas.
‘We shouldn’t be the ones putting our granddaughter to bed. We shouldn’t be the ones telling our granddaughter Father Christmas is coming and mummy’s going to send her a bike.
‘Our granddaughter shouldn’t be blowing kisses to the sky for her mum.
The Carringtons also fear that their granddaughter could be scarred in the future by what she saw her mother go through.
‘In later years to come what’s it going to do to our granddaughter because she was on top of her mum,’ Ms Carrington said. ‘And she was gonna bath her. She was in the bathroom.
‘We could have not only lost our daughter but our granddaughter as well. If I wasn’t close to Lauren and I just thought is she not coming today, how long could our granddaughter have been in the apartment on her own?
‘There’s all this should I have gone up when she said she was fine because she’d been convinced she was fine and she convinced me she was fine. I’m going to have that for the rest of my life, could I have saved her?’
Lauren’s ‘beautiful’ funeral was held on February 22 and there was not enough room in the chapel to fit everyone in.
Ms Carrington recalled: ‘Lauren was loved by everybody so we had to book the biggest chapel and we had to book a double service and people were outside, they couldn’t get in.’
The parents revealed how the majority of guests came to the service in dressing gowns because Lauren loved wearing one when she wasn’t at work.
‘The street was full and the majority apart from older generation wore dressing gowns,’ they explained. ‘And we released balloons for her.’
Mr Carrington said that the funeral celebrant was crying and admitted that ‘he had never seen anything like it’.
In final words to MailOnline, Ms Carrington said they want ‘justice for Lauren so that when our granddaughter’s older, we can say nanny and granddad did everything we could to get justice for mummy’.
She added: ‘She’s never going to forget her mum. We won’t let her forget her mummy. Her mummy is the stars, the sunshine, the rainbow.’
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: ‘We would like to apologise to the family of Lauren Smith after what must have been an extremely difficult period.
‘The Trust carried out a full investigation into what happened to see what learning could be taken from such a tragic case. We are determined to do everything possible to try and stop something like this ever happening again.
‘The review made a number of recommendations which have been implemented, including providing additional learning to our clinicians about recognising acute coronary syndrome (ACS), particularly in women.
‘Understanding ECGs is part of paramedic training. In recent years, staff have had additional education on recognising Acute Coronary Syndrome as part of their mandatory updates; there is also e-learning available to all staff and the matter has been covered in clinical publications sent to all clinicians on a number of occasions.
‘We note the Preventing Future Deaths order that the Coroner has issued and will respond to it fully within the time frame once it is received.’
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