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Negligence of Ambulance Crew Caused Asthma Death

The family of a man who died following an asthma attack has been guaranteed a six-figure sum in compensation for their loss after a judge ruled that the treatment he received from an emergency ambulance crew was negligent.

The man, a clerk in a barristers' chambers, had a history of brittle asthma and had been admitted to hospital on a number of occasions. The ambulance was called and arrived promptly after he suffered an attack at home following a game of golf. He was treated with Salbutamol and oxygen. He initially said that he felt better but collapsed as an attempt was made to move him downstairs. The 41-year-old stopped breathing, suffered a heart attack and died soon afterwards.

Ruling in favour of the man's widow and their three sons against the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, the judge found that the ambulance crew had failed to appreciate how unwell he really was and that his condition was life-threatening. Had he been appropriately medicated, he would probably have survived. Although the amount of compensation due to the family has yet to be finally calculated, the award is expected to approach £400,000.

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