Mum died after tripping in pothole

A MOTHER died after tripping on a pothole and fracturing her ankle '“ which led to a fatal blood clot.

Monday, 15th February 2016, 7:17 am
Updated Monday, 15th February 2016, 12:55 pm
Sarah Downie with daughter Eloise Downie

Sarah Downie, 40, from Leyland, died in only a few hours after the clot, which started in her right calf, made its way up her body and blocked a major artery, Preston Coroner’s Court heard.

Mrs Downie collapsed suddenly at her home on Yewlands Avenue and despite the efforts of both her husband James and the paramedics to resuscitate her, she died at Royal Preston Hospital at 2.42am, September 16, 2015.

On September 7 last year, Mrs Downie was taking her daughter to school when she tripped on a pothole before being helped home by friends. The next day she went to Royal Preston Hospital where she discovered she had fractured a small bone in her ankle.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Martin Edgell, a consultant in emergency medicine at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, told the inquest: “Mrs Downie came in with some pain in her foot and said it felt tender.

“After an X-ray she was found to have a small fracture, a chip in her heel bone, and was given a walking boot and crutches. I think she was treated appropriately and no one would have had her as a high-risk patient.”

Then on September 15, emergency services responded to a 999 call from Mrs Downie’s home.

Dr Jonathan Whittaker, a consultant in the emergency department at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals and a member of the team that saw Mrs Downie at the hospital, said: “She was sitting in a chair at home when she suddenly collapsed at 11pm.

“Her husband began CPR using over-the-phone instructions and when the paramedics arrived they took over. A pulse was then found and Mrs Downie’s condition seemed to improve with her even saying a few words and CPR was stopped. But as she was leaving the house she went into cardiac arrest.”

The inquest heard Mrs Downie arrived at hospital at 12.33am with a team ready to receive her.

“Her heart had stopped beating when she arrived at A&E and we gave her a clot-busting drug to dissolve the clot at 12.50am,” Dr Whittaker explained. “We then continued CPR and although we found a pulse it quickly went around 2am.”

The court then heard a decision was taken to stop CPR and Mrs Downie was pronounced dead at 2.42am.

The medical term for Mrs Downie’s death is Venous thromboembolism (VTE), which is the formation of blood clots in the vein.

When a clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg, it is called a deep vein thrombosis and if that clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it is called a pulmonary embolism.

Dr Whittaker explained: “Some people have clots and don’t know about it because the clot is so small. In this case it almost completely blocked the artery. It’s unusual to see someone coming out of that situation and be resuscitated. Almost always it’s a fatal event.”

The verdict recorded by Coroner Dr James Adeley was accidental death.

He said: “This was a very sad death and a very rare event.”