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NHS ambulance service doctored documents to cover up truth about deaths

Quinn Evie Beadle died in 2018. Her parents later found out that the “kind, caring” 17-year-old had been failed by a paramedic at the scene of her death — and that the ambulance service altered documents to try to stop them finding out the truth.

The teenager, who dreamt of becoming a medic but suffered poor mental health, was found after she hanged herself near her home in Shildon, Co Durham, on the evening of 9 December 2018. The paramedic who attended the scene made basic mistakes, and made no effort to clear her airway or continue with basic life support — despite the fact her heart was still active.

But instead of attempting to learn lessons, bosses at the North East Ambulance Trust (NEAS) set out to prevent the family learning what happened.

They changed a key witness statement given to the coroner at her first inquest, removing references to mistakes the paramedic had made and inserting the claim that any life support offered would “not have had a positive outcome”. They also withheld from the coroner a key piece of evidence — a reading from a heart monitor — which demonstrated Quinn’s heart activity.

It is thought Quinn’s death could be one of more than 90 cases in the past three years in which the NEAS failed to provide families with the whole truth about how their relatives died.

Senior managers repeatedly withheld key evidence from coroners about deaths linked to service failures, an internal report shows. In some cases, bosses doctored or suppressed evidence to cover up failures by staff.

An independent report into a small number of the cases, including Quinn’s, raised by whistleblowers found that, as in her case, statements were changed or suppressed and pieces of key evidence not disclosed.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Sunday Times, 22 May 2022


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