Family to seek legal advice after records lost following mother's death

The family of a woman who went into cardiac arrest while waiting for an ambulance say they will explore legal options following the conclusion of her inquest.

Gloria Sofflet (65) lived with her husband at Merville Court, an assisted living facility run by Dublin City Council in Finglas, Dublin 11. The woman’s family say number is issues contributed to her death and say they feel let down by her treatment.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a narrative verdict reflecting concerns raised about Mrs Sofflet’s medical care, including the use of warfarin and the involvement of the National Ambulance Service following an emergency call to the woman’s home address.

The inquest heard that Mrs Sofflet’s patient records from the National Ambulance Service went missing in the wake of her death.

“How can the ambulance crew say they know my mother was dead when they left when there is no evidence? They have no records, no ECG print out. It’s very frustrating for people like us, we need answers,” the woman's daughter, Samantha Boland said.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that Mrs Sofflet was feeling unwell on the night of February 16 2015 and went to bed early. Her husband George Sofflet heard her call for help and pulled an emergency chord for help. The service contacted the National Ambulance Service in Tallaght, Dublin and an ambulance was dispatched. National Ambulance Service advance paramedic Andy Wilson said the ambulance had difficultly entering the gated complex.

“I hit the siren to draw attention to people inside the courtyard,” Mr Wilson said. On arrival at the Sofflet’s flat paramedics began resuscitation and continued for twenty minutes but Mrs Sofflet remained in cardiac arrest. Following her mother’s death, Samantha Boland sought her mother’s patient care records from the HSE but was told they were missing.

The cause of death was a blood clot in the lung due to deep vein thrombosis, according to an autopsy. Ms Boland said her mother had taken warfarin for a 21 month period beginning in 2008 but the treatment ended when it should have continued.

The woman’s GP Celine Shaw said the decision regarding warfarin is for the hospital haematolgy department but said she had changed her work practises since Mrs Sofflet’s death, making sure to clarify all cases involving warfarin.

“There were too many things that went wrong that I feel contributed to my mother’s death. It’s sad because we feel mum should still be here with us,” Ms Boland said.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said she would write to the HSE to pass on the family’s concerns and their intention to make inquiries outside of the inquest.


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