Shopworker died from blood clot after GP phone appointment failed to spot injury


Shopworker, 27, died from blood clot after GP failed to spot his injury when he had to have phone appointment rather than face-to-face meeting

  • Callum Jones died two weeks after falling while walking his dogs
  • He phoned his GP with breathing problems but was diagnosed with pleurisy 
  • His mother believes he could have been saved with a face-to-face appointment 

A dog walker who was killed in a freak tragedy after slipping in a park could have been saved if he had seen a doctor face-to-face, an inquest has heard.

Shopworker Callum Jones, 27, suffered a blood clot and died two weeks later after doctors failed to realise the danger.

The hearing was told Callum’s life could have been saved if he had a face-to-face meeting with a doctor – instead of a telephone one.

Callum and his family had been walking their dogs at Loggerheads country park in Mold, North Wales, when he slipped on a wooden footbridge.

The hearing was told he lost his balance when one of the dogs pulled him as he crossed a slippery bridge.

Callum Jones, 27, died of a pulmonary embolism in his lung as a result of immobility from a sprained ligament from the fall

Callum Jones, 27, died of a pulmonary embolism in his lung as a result of immobility from a sprained ligament from the fall

He hurt his right ankle – and it was diagnosed as a fracture at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd hospital. He was given a protective moon-boot and crutches.

But a week later the diagnosis was changed to badly-sprained ligaments and tendons.

He later rang local Shotton Lane surgery for a telephone consultation with GP Dr Chris Murphy due to a breathing problem.

During their nine-minute conversation he diagnosed ‘pleuritic pain’ from pleurisy. Dr Murphy told the coroner he was not aware Callum was wearing an ankle boot or of the fall.

Pleurisy is inflammation of the sheet-like layers that cover the lungs and its most common symptom is a sharp chest pain which can sometimes also be felt in the shoulder. 

Dr Murphy prescribed an inhaler, replacing an old one Callum had had for asthma. 

Callum, who weighed 26 stone, collapsed at home in Ewloe, North Wales, on October 17 and was taken to the Countess of Chester Hospital but died the next day.

Callum slipped and fell while walking his dogs in a North Wales park - but his GP surgery was not aware of this as the hospital discharge letter only arrived after his death

Callum slipped and fell while walking his dogs in a North Wales park – but his GP surgery was not aware of this as the hospital discharge letter only arrived after his death

A pathologist examination found Callum died from a pulmonary embolism in his lung as a result of immobility from a sprained ligament from the fall.

Asked why blood-thinning medication had not been prescribed to reduce the risk of a clot, Dr Asif Iqbal said that Callum was deemed to be a low risk.

‘Even though he had reduced mobility and was a big lad?’ asked the coroner. Reply: ‘Yes’.

Dr Iqbal said that even under a new risk assessment procedure introduced in January this year Callum would be classed as ‘low risk’.

‘With the benefit of hindsight it’s surprising that there was no thromboprophlaxis (blood-thinner) prescribed but there was a rationale behind that and why it was thought there was no need for it,’ said Mr Gittins. 

Dr Murphy told the coroner he had been in ‘complete shock’ when he learned Callum died. 

The coroner asked him if he had seen the boot in a face to face meeting would he have considered an alternative diagnosis to pleurisy – and he agreed.

He said he would had he been aware of the injury and Callum’s limited mobility he would taken the risk of a blood clot into account.

The GP said there are now ‘a lot more face to face appointments in the afternoon’.

At the time, he said, he had not received Callum’s discharge letter from Glan Clwyd Hospital, and Dr Iqbal told the inquest it normally took about three weeks for the hospital secretaries to write them up and send them to GPs.

Recording a conclusion of accidental death, the coroner said the fall was clearly the catalyst for the tragic consequences.

He was concerned, he said, about the delay in sending out discharge letters to GPs but before deciding whether to issue a Prevention of Future Deaths report to the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board would seek details of the current time frame.

‘If I feel those time frames represent a risk to other patients it will obligatory to raise a Regulation 28 report,’ he added.

After the hearing Mrs Jones said: ‘I believe that Callum could have been saved if he had able to see Dr Murphy face-to-face. 

‘I know that Covid was the reason but one can’t keep blaming Covid for everything.’

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