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UWE student left waiting over five hours for an ambulance after fatal injury, inquest hears

Maddy Lawrence passed away in March 2022 after sustaining an injury during a rugby game


An ongoing inquest into the death of Maddy Lawrence in March 2022 has heard how the rugby player was left waiting five hours for an ambulance after dislocating her hip whilst playing a friendly match against the University of Bristol.

The eight day inquest which began on 29th August heard that five calls to the emergency services were made before Maddy was taken to Southmead Hospital.

Having initially called at around 3pm, the on-site physiotherapist Paul Thompkins made four additional calls to the emergency services, being told by the call handler that “we are very busy at the moment”.

A paramedic phoned the physiotherapist at 18:05, asking whether the student’s pain was mild, moderate, or severe, to which Mr Tompkins replied “10 out of 10”. The ambulance subsequently arrived at 20:30.

Credit: @uwewrugby

On the day that Maddy was injured the ambulance service was receiving an average of 54 calls per hour in the Greater Bristol area.

The inquest heard from the quality lead for the South Western Ambulance Service Trust that, despite this, Ms Lawrence should have been seen by an ambulance crew by 17:18.

Maddy was treated at Southmead Hospital where she underwent a series of operations.

However, these were unsuccessful and Maddy died 16 days after her initial injury.

Credit: @uwewrugby

The inquest also heard that, once at Southmead Hospital, Maddy was not tested for sepsis despite her early warning score indicating this should have been carried out.

A staff member involved in her care, Dr Thomas Edwards, told the inquest that on 13th March he asked for fresh blood samples to check her kidney functioning but they had still not been taken by the following day.

“So I printed off a sticker [to make it a priority] and asked for them to be done urgently,” he said.

Noting that there were still no results in the hours afterwards, he was told the lab had not received any samples to process: “I was assured in no uncertain terms the tests would be done that day…. I checked again later that evening – the blood results weren’t available on the system.”

Maddy’s father also gave evidence at the inquest, reporting that his daughter believed she was seen as a “difficult patient” by hospital staff and the nurses were not taking her seriously.

A bomb hoax further postponed Maddy’s care. One of her doctors told the hearing: “I chased up the CT scan but was told it wasn’t a priority due to the delays”.

Five days after first being admitted to hospital Maddy’s condition was noticed to be deteriorating and she was moved to the Intensive Care Unit; she was subsequently treated for sepsis and underwent a series of operations, including a leg amputation.

Unfortunately, the treatment failed and Maddy died on 25th March.

Following her death family and friends set up a charity Maddy’s name and UWE Women’s Rugby retired her shirt.

The inquest is expected to continue for the next two weeks.
Featured image credit @uwewrugby