Retired footballer, 54, died of brain haemorrhage after symptoms were ‘diagnosed as depression’

Former footballer Colin Jones, 54, pictured, died following a brain haemorrhage just weeks after complaining of headaches to GPs only to be diagnosed with depression

Former footballer Colin Jones, 54, pictured, died following a brain haemorrhage just weeks after complaining of headaches to GPs only to be diagnosed with depression

A retired footballer died from a brain haemorrhage after a GP and paramedics repeatedly dismissed his symptoms as ‘depression‘, an inquest has heard.

Colin Jones, 54, died just weeks after going to his GP complaining of feeling unwell and was diagnosed with depression and given diazepam.

The father-of-three was eventually taken to hospital on Christmas Eve in 2017 after collapsing on the floor at home, but a string of delays meant a bleed on his brain was not treated for eight hours.

One member of staff even told his wife and daughter he would have to ‘wait his turn’ because they were busy with other patients.

After he stopped breathing he was finally transferred to a specialist neurology unit but was found to be brain dead and his family switched off his life support machine later that day.

An inquest heard the former West Bromwich Albion footballer started suffering headaches and slurring his words weeks before his death.

On December 22, his wife Jayne, 55, noticed his face was drooping and dialled 999 and an ambulance was sent to their home in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.

Giving evident at Worcestershire Coroner’s Court, she said: ‘I had spotted a droop in his face and the ambulance was called.

‘The paramedics came and monitored his blood pressure and it was high, I told them it shouldn’t be high.

‘He was holding his head in pain, they were asking him questions but he was really confused.

‘They were happy with how he was and thought he had taken too many tablets [diazepam] and he had a headache.

‘The paramedic said he was happy that Colin didn’t need to be taken to the hospital to be checked over. We were told to just to carry on with the tablets.

‘They told us his face was drooped because of the diazepam. I got my daughters to stay with him as I had to go to work.

‘The next day I had a word with him and asked him if there was anything wrong with him to tell me. He was mumbling and said ‘lots to say’.

Mr Jones, pictured, played for West Bromwich Albion reserves and also had a spell in Sweden

His widow Jayne, 55, pictured, told the inquest how he waited hours for treatment in hospital after collapsing on Christmas Even 2017, before he eventually stopped breathing and became brain dead

An inquest heard Mr Jones, left, who played for West Bromwich Albion reserves and had a spell in Sweden, also waited eight hours in hospital for treatment after falling ill on Christmas Eve in 2017. His widow Jayne, right, said he started being sick while waiting to be seen and then stopped breathing, and the family turned off his life support later that day

The next morning, she was so worried she dialled 999 again and this time her husband was taken on blue lights to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Mrs Jones told the inquest: ‘I was fast asleep and I heard a bang, it was Christmas Eve and I went down stairs to make a trifle and my alarm went off and the dog hates it, so I was wondering why Colin hadn’t turned it off.

‘I saw him on the floor and his face was drooped and I called an ambulance and I had told them everything, they had taken him out and to hospital.

‘We were in the ambulance and the paramedic was looking after him and phoned for resus and I thanked them for listening to me.

‘I remember the paramedic saying ‘Where are the resus [resuscitation team]?’ But someone said ‘no, just put him over there’.

‘Colin was barely conscious, he was grey and cold and wasn’t responding. I thought he was going to die.

‘A young man had come over in a pale blue outfit, he said ‘We are very busy’.

‘He said we were in a queue and Colin had to wait his turn.

‘Colin was sick a few times and then he stopped breathing. Gemma grabbed her dad and was shouting at him.

‘I witnessed CPR beginning on him and we were ushered into another room.

Mrs Jones, pictured at the inquest, said 'everything moved so fast' after her husband stopped breathing but that doctors were 'too late' to save him

Mrs Jones, pictured at the inquest, said ‘everything moved so fast’ after her husband stopped breathing but that doctors were ‘too late’ to save him

‘We were waiting to find out what was going on. A consultant came in and said Colin was on oxygen, this was around 10am.

‘They had found a 10cm bleed on his brain and I was just asking was he dead?

‘Eventually, someone told us they’ve agreed to transfer him to Coventry [specialist neurology department at University Hospital Coventry].’

Mr Jones was admitted at 5pm but by that time he was in a critical condition.

Mrs Jones said: ‘Everything was moving so fast, a surgeon had told me it was critical and that’s when he decided to get rid of the pressure on his brain.

‘But unfortunately it was a little bit too late.’

Mr Jones, who ran a successful florist business, died on Christmas Eve, 2017, after his family decided to turn off his life support machine.

Dr William Dowley, of New Road Surgery in Bromsgrove where Mr Jones was a patient, said: ‘He and Mrs Jones came to see me in November 2017.

‘He seemed in a very low state of mind and I formed an opinion that he was suffering from depression.

‘He said he wasn’t enjoying anything and was waking early in the morning and as we talked I said to him ‘I think you’re depressed’.

‘His symptoms didn’t give me any clue [to anything more serious]. I thought it was just depression at the time.’

Mr Jones’s widow told the inquest how she met her husband when he was a 19-year-old footballer.

Mrs Jones said: ‘When I met him we were 19 he played for West Brom.

‘He was fit and healthy. When he left West Brom he went over to Sweden. He came back and played for a few lower teams.’  

Paramedic Harry de Voil told the inquest he examined Mr Jones on December 23 – and believed he was suffering from a ‘mental health problem’.

He said: ‘My assessment led me to believe with what we were called out for, which was a mental health problem.

‘He was struggling with side-effects from the anti-depression drugs.

‘I formed the view that there wasn’t any need to do more that day.

‘I didn’t make a full examination of the headache because there wasn’t any suggestion it was new.

‘I had taken into account that he had been seen by his GP in the previous days for depression.

‘This led me to believe this was in accordance with the original complaint of mental health.

‘I am disappointed that the family feel as though I wasn’t listening at the time and at the end of the day it has to be a judgement call based on what you’ve seen.’   

Following his football career, Mr Jones set up a florist which he ran with his wife and the help of their three daughters. 

The inquest continues. 

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