Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Stratford nurse and mum-of-three died after medics missed her heart condition

A MOTHER-OF-THREE whose heart condition went undiagnosed by the NHS died despite her repeatedly fainting and tests showing disturbances in her heartrate

Rose Fuentebaja, a nurse from Stratford, had been in hospital a week, during which time she had numerous blackouts and EGC tests.

However, she suffered a cardiac arrest and died after doctors failed to diagnose an irregular heart rhythm and mistakenly believed the issue to be neurological rather than cardiac.

Following legal action against West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, a £1 million damages settlement has been agreed with Mrs Fuentebaja’s widow, Darrel.

According to medical negligence specialists, Hudgell Solicitors, which acted on behalf of the family, Rose had been fit and healthy until she was first being taken ill on 23rd May, 2017, when she fainted at home.

An ambulance crew attended and carried out an ECG test which showed disturbances in her heartbeat, but they recorded it as being related to anxiety, telling her she didn’t need to go to hospital.

The following day, she had pins and needles in her hands and feet and fainted again. This time an ambulance did take her to hospital, but unable to determine the cause, she was assessed and sent home.

A few days later, having fainted again, she was again taken to Warwick Hospital by ambulance.

Over a week Rose had numerous ECG tests – and disturbances in her heartbeat were identified – but she was not placed on continual heart monitoring and was transferred to a neurological department at Coventry Hospital, where she died of a cardiac arrest on 4th June.

She was found unresponsive by a nurse who was doing her rounds – the attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

As part of the legal case, West Midlands Ambulance Service admitted breaching its duty of care as paramedics failed to identify potential cardiac issues. It also admitted that Rose should have been advised to go to hospital on the first day.

South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust admitted that failing to refer Rose to cardiology and failing to place her on constant heart monitoring, was also a breach of duty on its own part.

It added that had Rose been correctly diagnosed and treated with beta blocker medication, even if she had still suffered the cardiac arrest on 4th June, she would have received swift defibrillation and resuscitation, and would have survived.

Rose and Darrel, who moved to the UK from the Philippines in 2001, had three children aged 14, nine and six at the time Rose died.

“It was a really traumatic time when my wife died,” said Darrel. “As a nurse herself she was really committed to helping others and she helped to save many lives. Unfortunately, when the time came when she needed that help, she was failed and it cost her life.”

He added: “The compensation is helpful, but for now I can’t even think about spending it. It’s money that has come from losing my wife. I intend to save it and make sure my children can benefit from it in future years. They lost their mother and so hopefully it can help them in their lives.”

Elizabeth Maliakal, of Hudgell Solicitors, said: “Mrs Fuentebaja’s death was wholly avoidable. Had she been given appropriate treatment and care she would still be with her family today, but she was let down by two separate health providers. The missed opportunities to provide timely treatment led to the loss of a much-loved mother, wife and daughter who was the main provider for her family.”

A spokesperson for South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust said: “We express our heartfelt condolences to Rosalie’s family and friends.

“At the time of her death in 2017 we thoroughly investigated any missed opportunities and following that implemented learning across the organisation.”

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We would again like to apologise to the family of Rose Fuentebaja and offer our condolences.

“The trust undertook an investigation into the incident, which we have learned from. As a result we have implemented a number of changes based on the findings.

“We will continue to do all we can to try and stop something like this ever happening again.”

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More