Young Daventry mum died of rare heart condition

Share this article

A YOUNG mum died of a rare and hard-to-diagnose heart condition which doctors didn’t pick up on, an inquest has heard.

A young mum died of a rare and hard-to-diagnose heart condition which doctors didn’t pick up on, an inquest has heard.

Gemma Jones had been suffering from pains in her chest, arms and abdomen and on a number of visits to her GP she was diagnosed with acid reflux.

But Miss Jones, aged 28, of Brook Street, Daventry actually had a condition called diffused viral myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart caused by a virus.

Miss Jones was found dead at her home by fiancé Phillip Medhurst on March 18 this year. An inquest at Northampton General Hospital yesterday heard an autopsy showed “chronic inflammation” of Miss Jones’s heart.

Mr Medhurst was critical of the care Miss Jones received from Abbey House Medical Practice in Daventry, and said she should have been offered an ECG.

And paramedic Nicola Kirk, who attended the 999 call, said she was “surprised” of the diagnosis of a gastric problem given the symptoms Miss Jones was displaying.

But the inquest was told the condition was often asymptomatic and Miss Jones hadn’t complained of chest pains on her last visit to the GP before she died.

On the night Miss Jones died, Mr Medhurst was out with friends at the pub.

He sent Miss Jones a text around midnight and asked if it was OK for him to stay out, and she replied to say it was. When he returned home from the pub he found her lifeless on the bed.

Mr Medhurst said his fiancée had previously described the symptoms to him.

He said: “She said it felt as if someone was applying huge pressure to her chest. She went back and forth to the surgery but was just told it was acid reflux.

“The Thursday before she passed away she went to the surgery again, and again she was told it was acid reflux. I believe if Gemma had been given an ECG it would have shown up and she could have been treated.

“Gemma was loved immensely and will always be in our hearts.”

Dr Francis Somerset, from Abbey House Medical Practice, told the inquest Miss Jones had an ECG in October 2010 after complaining of chest pains, but the results were normal. He only saw Miss Jones once, in September 2011.

He said: “It is rare and very serious. It sends a shiver down my back – I am glad I was not the last person to see her.”

Miss Jones’s last appointment was with Dr Asma Saad, a GP registrar, the week before she died.

Dr Saad told the inquest she had not mentioned anything about chest pains during the appointment.

Asked if she would have offered Miss Jones an ECG if she had complained of chest pains, she said: “Definitely. We would have ordered an ECG there and then. It would have rung alarm bells.”

Coroner Anne Pember said she could only remember two cases of the condition in her 17 years as county coroner. She recorded a verdict of death from natural causes.