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Lawyer calls for better training for medical staff to identify side-effects of the pill

Leading medical negligence lawyer calls for Trusts to do more to ensure staff trained to identify side effects of taking the combined contraceptive pill - containing oestrogen, following death of 21-year-old

Contraceptive Pill

27 January 2016

The lawyer representing the family of a 21-year-old teaching assistant who collapsed and died from a blood clot caused by taking the contraceptive pill has said that more needs to be done to ensure that medical staff effectively treat the side-effects of the pill.
South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh heard that teaching assistant Fallan Kurek was sent home from a minor injuries unit with painkillers, before collapsing and dying from a "massive" pulmonary embolism.
Suzanne White a partner in the medical negligence team and inquest partner, at law firm Leigh Day, has called on the Trusts to issue clearer protocol for all medical staff at minor injuries units to ensure that people presenting with potentially life threatening conditions are referred to appropriately trained staff.
On May 8 2015 Ms Kurek was assessed by a nurse at Tamworth’s Sir Robert Peel community hospital after complaining of chest pains and feeling breathless.

The inquest heard that it was likely that she was at this time suffering from a blood clot on her lungs caused by a deep vein thrombosis, however, nurse Stuart Lamb diagnosed her pain as being muscular.
Three days after the visit to the hospital Ms Kurek, collapsed at her home and went into cardiac arrest. 
Mr Haigh said Ms Kurek suffered "irrecoverable" brain damage by the time she arrived at Sutton Coldfield's Good Hope Hospital, where she died three days later.
Mr Lamb told the inquest that Fallan had given him a three-day history of central chest pain which became worse following exertion.
Evidence provided to the Coroner, including statements from Ms Kurek's father Brian,  suggested that Fallan had mentioned leg pain and the fact that she was taking the pill during the hospital visit.
Addressing her attendance at the minor injuries unit, Mr Haigh added: "Here there appears to be a direct conflict in the evidence that I have heard.
"Mr Lamb cannot recall any reference to the fact that she was taking the pill. The likelihood is, on the evidence I have heard, is that that was mentioned."

Speaking on behalf of Ms Kurek's parents and other relatives after the hearing, her aunt, Rebecca Loeve said: "As a family we are devastated at the loss of our beloved Fallan at 21 years of age.
"It is clear from the evidence given at the inquest that when Fallan attended the Robert Peel minor injuries unit, the nurse did not further asses the risk of deep vein thrombosis.
"We love Fallan so much and we miss her desperately."
Suzanne White from law firm Leigh Day, who represented the family at the inquest and who is considering legal action against the Trust, said:
“The family required a great deal of legal assistance just to be able to get Fallan’s records from the Trust. There needs to be openness and transparency within the health service for lessons to be learned and for trust to be maintained.
“Following the disclosure of texts Fallan had sent to friends regarding her symptoms,  the Coroner was able to determine on a balance of probabilities that she had mentioned that she was taking the contraceptive pill to those treating her for life threatening symptoms, despite their denials.
“The risks to women of deep vein thrombosis from taking the combined contraceptive pill - containing oestrogen – are slight but are clear and all medical staff should be aware of them and their own abilities to diagnose. 
"Trusts need to ensure there is a clear protocol on what symptoms nursing staff can deal with and those which need the intervention of a doctor. "

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