Exclusive: Student suffers cardiac arrest two days after being misdiagnosed with asthma

Shona Pope was induced into a coma after going into cardiac arrest
Shona Pope was induced into a coma after going into cardiac arrest

A student who suffered a cardiac arrest was misdiagnosed with asthma and told to search for treatment on YouTube by an out-of-hours doctor, it has been claimed.

After experiencing shortness of breath for four weeks Shona Pope, 22, called 111 and was given an emergency appointment at the Medici Medical Practice, Windsor Street, Luton, on Sunday, November 29.

Shona has made a complaint about the out of hours GP provided by Care UK through 111

Shona has made a complaint about the out of hours GP provided by Care UK through 111

It is claimed that a Care UK out-of-hours doctor told Shona she had asthma and she could look on YouTube for a tutorial on how to use an inhaler. Two days later she was rushed into hospital where she went into cardiac arrest.

After being revived with emergency CPR the University of Hertfordshire student was induced into a coma.

Shona told the Luton News: “I feel very grateful to still be alive, when I go into the hospital now the nurses hug me and say that they can’t believe I’m still here. I waited an hour to see the doctor and it felt like I was in there for five minutes. She said I was asthmatic and when I asked how to use an inhaler she told me she didn’t have enough time to show me and that I could look it up on YouTube.

“I thought ‘are you being serious?’ but I’m not one to make fuss about it.

“Two days later I was in A+E.”

After Shona went into cardiac arrest in the early hours of Wednesday December 2 doctors used an adrenaline injection to start her heart.

She was then placed into an induced coma for 24 hours and remained in the intensive care unit for three days,

There, doctors discovered two blood clots in one of Shona’s lungs which are believed to have been caused by a contraceptive pill.

They also found pneumonia in the other lung and right sided dilation of the heart.

Shona, who also suffered short term memory loss, was discharged a week later and is now recovering at home.

She said: “My worry is that all of this could have happened while I was sleeping, if I hadn’t been in A+E at the time I wouldn’t be here now.

“I’m very appreciative of life right now.

“When I went to the surgery my issue was that I was getting out of breath for no reason, even when I was sitting down.

“I was really concerned and I feel like I wasn’t taken seriously at all.

“I am definitely going to make a complaint, I have started that process now.”

Shona’s friend Vanessa Filmer, who herself works in a GP surgery, added: “If the doctor sent her for further tests on Sunday she would have been given oral antibiotics and blood thinning medication for the blood clot rather than being so close to losing her life.

“Misdiagnosing people as having asthma is a international problem that GPs keep on making.

“Anybody with chest pain so severe they can hardly breath should be dealt with immediately.”

Care UK has said it will conduct an internal review into the case.

A spokesperson told the Luton News: “While we’re unable to discuss specific details about individual patients we can confirm that this person attended the Luton Out of Hours service on 29 November.

“After reviewing the doctor’s notes, it is clear that she spent at least 15 minutes with the patient and performed a thorough examination, which included discussing the risks of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

“She also advised the patient to see her own GP for further investigations.

“We take all feedback very seriously and urge the patient to contact us directly so that we can address any concerns personally and discuss what was recorded in the consultation notes.”