September 20 2019
The inquest into the death of the late Ffion Jones was held in Pontypridd Coroner’s Court before Coroner David Regan. The Welsh Ambulance Service and Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board were represented by Nia Gowman, instructed by Trish Gaskell of Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust. Ffion was 12 years old when she suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of an Addisonian Crisis. The Court heard that Addison’s disease is a rare disorder of the adrenal glands. Ffion had presented to her GP after a prolonged period of vomiting; she was severely dehydrated and experiencing lapses in consciousness. The GP’s observations noted that Ffion had a heart rate of 160 and her blood pressure was unrecordable. The GP requested an urgent ambulance. Nia assisted the Court by adducing evidence from relevant Health Board witnesses on the issue of survivability. Nia assisted the Court by adducing evidence from relevant WAST witnesses regarding allocation of 999 calls using the Medical Priority Dispatch System and the pathways in place for escalating matters for clinical consideration by the Clinical Support Desk. The Coroner reached a narrative conclusion that Ffion had died as a result of an Addisonian Crisis whereby she suffered a seriously damaging arrest at the GP surgery whilst waiting almost 1 hour for an ambulance which had been requested urgently but had been delayed by a failure to escalate her case to the Clinical Support Desk. The Coroner concluded that escalation to the Clinical Support Desk would have likely led to an ambulance attending upon her prior to her arrest and it was likely that she would have survived.