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Mum died from blood clot after doctor told her she was just anxious

A doctor who told a new mum dying from a blood clot to go home and ‘have some fun’ has been found guilty of neglect, a coroner has ruled.

Michelle Roach, 32, died of a pulmonary embolism just two days after Dr Nuala Morton told her she was having an anxiety attack.

Dr Morton failed to diagnose her patient properly despite her showing the warning signs, the court heard.

George Roach had to wait years to hear what had happened to his wife (Picture: INS)
Michelle Roach was told to go away and do something fun after she had collapsed twice (Picture: INS)

Mrs Roach died of a blood clot in her lung in 2014, just over a month after giving birth.

At the conclusion of a four day inquest, Senior Coroner Heidi Connor ruled the new mother had died from natural causes but singled out Dr Morton, saying the death was contributed to by neglect in her clinical treatment before being admitted to hospital.

Ms Connor said: ‘It is likely that she (Michelle) was short of breath, or at the very least, reported suffering this symptom earlier that day.

‘She was not referred to hospital to investigate the possibility of pulmonary embolism.

‘Dr Morton spoke to Michelle’s husband on the telephone the next day and was told that Michelle had deteriorated. She advised that Michelle could wait four days to be seen again.’

Mrs Roach’s husband George Roach said he felt ‘incredibly angry’ when his wife lost her life and ‘lost all trust in medical professionals’.

During the inquest, Mr Roach said his wife had collapsed as they were taking their baby for a walk.

A coroner ruled the GP had neglected Mrs Roach in her clinical treatment (Picture: INS)

When they visited Dr Morton she failed to make some basic checks for a pulmonary embolism, the court heard.

Around 15 days later, on January 29 – the day of Mrs Roach’s six-week check-up – she collapsed again.

Dr Morton advised she was having an anxiety or panic attack and needed to ‘relax a bit’.

The doctor had not noted down Michelle’s blood pressure, or that she was short of breath and had fallen unconscious, but Dr Morton claimed Mrs Roach had not been short of breath during the consultation.

Dr Morton was called in the morning after her condition deteriorated, but she did not make a home visit until the evening.

When she did visit, Mrs Roach was too weak to get out of bed. The GP called for a one to two hour ambulance, rather than a blue light emergency call.

The 32-year-old was taken to hospital, but waited two hours before being seen by a junior doctor who failed to diagnose her.

On January 31 she had a cardiac arrest where she cried out in pain and said she could not breathe.

A cardiac team was assembled but she had another cardiac arrest and quickly deteriorated until she died at 2.22am after having a pulmonary embolism.

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