Quicker blood results could have saved Olive

�The unexpected death of a pensioner with a “fabulous life” could have had a different outcome if blood test results had been made available sooner at Romford’s Queen’s Hospital.

Olive Summerfield, 75, of Pembroke Gardens, Dagenham, was admitted to the Rom Valley Way unit at 1pm on April 18, 2011, with chest pains, an inquest at Waltham Coroner’s Court heard on Tuesday.

Friend Lucy Suckling told the court Olive called her to bring some items to the hospital.

When Lucy arrived she was told Olive was in resuscitation, and then told her friend had died at 5.30pm.

Lucy said: “Up until that time she had a fabulous life. She had such a good social life. She was going on trips and to social events in the community.”

Olive had been admitted to hospital three days prior to her death complaining of chest pains and swelling to her ankles, but was sent home the same day.


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Dr Derek Hicks, the last doctor to treat Olive, told the court there had been shortcomings with a diagnosis on the day she died.

He said the results of a blood test taken that day, which were not available until after Olive’s cardiac arrest, could have changed the management and medication she received.

However, he added that test results of her liver function showed she may have suffered a “slow burner heart attack over the course of 48 hours”.

Her cause of death was recorded as acute and chronic heart failure with a background condition of hypertension.

Reading out a narrative verdict coroner Chinyere Inyama said: “The results of a diagnostically important blood test were not made available to doctors until after the cardiac arrest.

“Timely processing of the results would have changed the management of the deceased’s condition and may have affected the outcome.”