South Warwickshire nurse dies after doctors fail to diagnose life-threatening heart problem - The Leamington Observer

South Warwickshire nurse dies after doctors fail to diagnose life-threatening heart problem

A NURSE dedicated to helping save the lives of others died after doctors failed to diagnose her own life-threatening health issue, it has been found.

Health officials have admitted failings in care after mum-of-three Rose Fuentebaja suffered a cardiac arrest and died.

Doctors failed to diagnose the 40-year-old’s life-threating irregular heart rhythm and mistakenly believed the issue to be neurological, rather than cardiac.

The Stratford resident had been in hospital a week – during which time she had numerous blackouts and ECG tests – when she suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.

Now, 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.

Mrs Fuentebaja, herself a nurse for 16 years who worked in a private hospital, had been fit and healthy until first being taken ill on May 23, 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 began to suffer from 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 hospital by ambulance.

Over a week period she 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 June 4.

She was found unresponsive by a nurse who was doing her rounds, with attempts to resuscitate her proving unsuccessful.

As part of the legal case WMAS admitted breaching its duty of care as paramedics failed to identify potential cardiac issues despite an ECG showing disturbances, and her loss of consciousness. It also admitted that Mrs Fuentebaja should have been advised to go to hospital that day.

SWFT admitted that failing to refer Mrs Fuentebaja to cardiology, and failing to place her on constant heart monitoring, was also a breach of duty on its own part.

Mr and Mrs Fuentebaja had built a happy family life in the UK having moved from the Philippines in 2001.

When she died, Mr Fuentebaja was left to raise his three children, aged 14, nine and six at the time.

He said: “It was a really traumatic time when my wife died. 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.”

A WMAS 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.”

A SWFT spokesperson added: “We express our heartfelt condolences to Rose’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.”


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