Jasbir Pahal, a 44-year-old teaching assistant, and a mother of four, tragically died in November 2022, after experiencing a severe stroke during the weekend, an inquest has heard. Jasbir’s husband, Satinder Pahal accused the hospital of not promptly transferring her to a facility equipped with 24-hour treatments to remove blood clots, asserting that his wife fell victim to a “postcode lottery,” preventing her from receiving the necessary assistance.
During the inquest, it was revealed that hospital staff at Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax had only offered her aspirin, despite the urgent need for life-saving treatment, The BBC reported.
The incident was recently discussed at Wakefield Coroners’ Court.
In the early hours of November 13, 2022, Satinder discovered his wife, a dedicated and beloved teaching professional, on the floor after she had fallen out of bed.
Recognising the signs of a stroke, Satinder quickly called for emergency assistance. A first responder arrived at their Huddersfield home 20 minutes after dialling 999, but due to foggy driving conditions, an ambulance and paramedics took more than 70 minutes to reach them.
This extended response time, four times longer than the target, was highlighted during the inquest into Jasbir’s death.
Colleagues and students described her as passionate about teaching. She was a fit non-smoker who abstained from alcohol.
The incident details were presented at the inquest by area coroner Oliver Longstaff.
During the hearing, it was revealed that a CT scan conducted on Jasbir at the hospital detected a blood clot suitable for intervention, either through “clot buster” thrombolysis medicine or a procedure known as mechanical thrombectomy.
However, her husband was informed that too much time had lapsed for thrombolysis, and mechanical thrombectomy was locally unavailable outside the hours of 08:00-15:00 from Monday to Friday.
Expressing his regret, Satinder said that had he driven her himself, they would have arrived in time for thrombolysis, potentially saving her life.
The family raised 20 questions and concerns, including the delayed ambulance response and why she was not transferred to a hospital with 24-hour stroke care automatically.
In his statement, Satinder accused hospital staff of neglecting his wife, alleging that they had given up on Jasbir, allowing her condition to deteriorate ultimately leading to her death.
During the inquest, it was disclosed that Jasbir was transferred to Royal Stoke University Hospital in another ambulance. However, the vehicle was later redirected to Leeds General Infirmary instead of the closer Salford Royal Hospital, which was equipped with a 24-hour mechanical thrombectomy service, located 32 miles away from her initial hospital.
But despite the closer facility’s availability, there was no established protocol to automatically route her there.
Jasbir arrived at Leeds General Infirmary approximately nine hours after the initial 999 call. It was at this hospital where she underwent a procedure to reduce brain swelling.
However, her condition deteriorated, and she died on November 30.
In Satinder ‘s statement, he revealed that he later found out a 24-hour mechanical thrombectomy service was not accessible in significant parts of the UK, calling it a “postcode lottery.”
He said that if Jasbir had resided just 10 miles further west, she would have automatically received 24-hour stroke care.
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust said they would release a statement after the conclusion of the two-day inquest.
Additionally, the Yorkshire Ambulance Service has been contacted for their response.