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NHS 111 operator admits mistakes during suspected allergic reaction death of 18-year-old | UK News

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A call handler working for the NHS non-emergency 111 service admitted he made mistakes in the way he dealt with the case of a teenager suffering a fatal suspected allergic reaction.

Ademola Dada said he did things “very differently” when taking a call during a “busy” period from the mother of 18-year-old Shante Turay-Thomas on 14 September last year.

He admitted failing to act on information about the victim’s nut allergy, not engaging with a clinician over her worsening condition and not checking the caller’s address was correct.

Initially the law student said she felt unwell, but her condition deteriorated significantly while her mother, Emma Turay, was on the phone to the 111 service from their home in Wood Green, north London.

Ms Turay-Thomas slipped into unconsciousness and died in hospital hours later.

At a part-heard inquest which resumed at St Pancras Coroner’s Court, Mr Dada admitted he made mistakes.

But he said his priority was not to deviate from the NHS Pathways symptoms assessment service in order to get an ambulance to the sick patient.

Mr Dada said: “I think there are a number of things I didn’t do correctly in this case. There are a number of things I would have done differently.”

With hindsight, he said he would have spoken to Ms Turay-Thomas directly to gauge how significant her breathing issues were.

Previously the inquest had heard how her mother described that her daughter had a rash, tingling at the back of her throat and that she might have eaten nuts.

Coroner Mary Hassell asked whether he should have considered the prospect that Ms Turay-Thomas was having an allergic reaction.

Mr Dada replied: “In hindsight, yes, it would have been appropriate to ask.

“But thinking back to what happened that night, I think I was wanting to get that ambulance out.

“If I was to go back in time, I would ask more questions.”

He said clinicians often told him that some information was deemed unnecessary, and that call handlers are asked to keep details “short and sweet”.

He said: “Most of the time you are shut down (by clinicians), you don’t give them information you have not assessed.”

Mr Dada said he did not pass on the detail about a possible allergic reaction in this case because he “didn’t feel it was relevant at the time”.

He added: “I should have thought of it, asking for a clinician’s help.

“There was a high level of stress at the time, the service was busy at the time.

“I did it (processed the call) very differently. Even if it was not wrong, I did it very differently.”

Shante Turay-Thomas's case is being heard at St Pancras Coroner's Court in London
Image:
Shante Turay-Thomas’s case is being heard at St Pancras Coroner’s Court in London

The call was later passed on to a clinician.

Mr Dada said he only knew there was a serious problem when he went for a break 20 minutes later.

Then he saw the clinician who took Ms Turay’s call with “his face in his hands”.

Audio was played to the inquest of the 111 phone call made by Ms Turay, during which Mr Dada could be heard yawning as he transferred the call to a clinician.

He denied suggestions by Clodagh Bradley QC, lawyer for the student’s family, that the yawning demonstrated a lack of urgency on his part.

He told the hearing: “I don’t think that’s right.

“I recognised from an early stage that it was an emergency situation.

“At this point in the call (transferring to the clinician), I relaxed a little bit.

“I think at this point I must have relaxed. You are tired. I do recall my heart was racing throughout the call though.”

During the audio, Ms Turay-Thomas briefly described her condition, saying: “I’m wheezing a lot and it feels like it is hard to breathe. It’s really itchy and my face feels burning hot.”

Asked if she was having an allergic reaction, Ms Turay-Thomas said: “I don’t know. It is just quite painful and it is getting worse every time I breathe.”

Previously the inquest heard Ms Turay-Thomas tried to save her own life with a self-administered adrenaline shot she had never been trained to use.

It has also heard that one ambulance was initially dispatched to the victim’s grandmother’s house six miles away, even though Ms Turay gave her address in Wood Green several times.

The case is due to continue until Thursday.

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