A YOUNG British expat woman died hours after being dismissed by doctors and told to go home after waiting 14 hours at a Torrevieja Hospital for treatment.
Rachael Firth, who worked as a live-in carer on Spain’s Costa Blanca, sought help at A&E on Saturday, August 14, after suffering days of pain.
She was seen by her GP for pain in her legs earlier that week, and was advised to go to Emergencias if the condition worsened.
In regular messages to her mum Jane, Rachael said hospital staff justified making her wait all day because emergencies took priority.
After seven hours of waiting in agony with her leg swollen to twice its size, the 33-year-old eventually saw a female doctor.
However, Rachael felt her condition was not taken seriously, and told her mother that the doctor dismissed her after seeing medical notes that mentioned previous treatments for mental illness.
In a message to her mother she said: “The doctor was really nasty, said she’s read my notes and I’m mental in the head.”
She said the doctor had told nurses that once she had her X-ray “get her to a taxi and get her home”.
In a later message she said: “The other two nurses were well shocked”.
Referring to the doctor, the text said: “She hates me”.
The part-time charity volunteer stayed though, in the desperate hope that someone would eventually attend to her leg.
Exhausted, she was sent home at 3am, after 14 agonising hours in the hospital.
Later that morning, her mother Jane, with 35 years nursing experience herself, realised something was gravely wrong and rushed to the nearest pharmacy for medication and advice.
But by the time she returned, Rachael had slipped into unconsciousness and was completely unresponsive.
Jane performed CPR while neighbours called for an ambulance but Rachael died on the floor of her own lounge with paramedics also unable to revive her.
Alejandro, a Spanish neighbour, confirmed to Jane that the ambulance staff told him that “an embolism was certainly to blame”, after assessing her symptoms.
An official post-mortem was carried out but the results have yet to be published.
Rachael’s own son, Reece, 13, had thankfully been staying with friends that night so did not witness his mother’s death.
The family is now looking for answers as to why medics failed to take Rachael’s illness seriously and to provide treatment that could have saved her life.
Jane has sought legal advice, with a view to preventing such a tragedy happening to someone else.
“The way my daughter was treated in her final hours is nothing short of disgusting – you wouldn’t treat an animal that way,” she sobbed.
Continuing, “Money isn’t the issue, what difference would it make anyway?”
“I just want justice for Rachael and I want answers to the questions we have about her awful treatment – this shouldn’t happen to anyone.”
Rachael was cremated at Torrevieja crematorium on Wednesday, August 18, with dozens of friends, family and colleagues in attendance.
Kind neighbours had helped towards the expensive funeral costs at short notice.
A fundraising event is planned for Sunday, August 22 to recuperate some of the unexpected cost of the funeral.
Local entertainer, Stevie Spit, and many others are giving up their time for a concert at The Emerald Isle in La Florida.
If Olive Press readers would like to help the family, there is also a gofundme page to help.