UPSET: Tameika’s sisters Kedine and Shelon Lattie with mum Audrey Henry
FAMILY MEMBERS of Tameika Lattie, 29, a young mother, who died a day after seeking medical attention at a local hospital for a head injury, said they plan to seek legal action.
They are claiming that medical staff failed to properly monitor her and let her die.
They also claim Tameika was let down by London Ambulance Service (LAS) when she died at her home in Catford Hill, south London on Christmas Eve.
A preliminary post mortem report outlined that Tameika died from Sudden Cardiac Death (a sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness), but family members said more could be have been done to save her.
“What we’ve been trying to do is to get solicitors,” said Kedine Lattie, Tameika’s sister, a full-time mum and former accountant.
The family also want solicitors to seek answers to whether medical staff could have prevented what happened at the upcoming inquest into Tameika’s death.
Lattie told The Voice the 29-year-old fell while in a Catford nail salon and hit her head on December 23, 2012.
The mum-of-one went to Lewisham Hospital with a headache, was given a prescription and allowed to leave the hospital.
They said Tameika went out in the night, a belated celebration to mark her December 8 birthday. She returned home around 5.00 am, and after a few hours she started convulsing (December 24) and subsequently died.
Family members said they called for an ambulance but by the time paramedics arrived, Tameika was already dead.
The family says that Lewisham Hospital should have admitted Tameika and monitored her longer because of the head injury.
Lattie told The Voice that Tameika only went out later because she believed she was ok based on her treatment at the hospital. She said Tameika even told their mum, Audrey Henry that if she wasn’t ok they wouldn’t have let her go home.
Lattie said: “We just found out from the coroner the other day…that the cause of death is Sudden Cardiac Death.”
She said the family was further informed that medical staff were trained to recognise signs of this.
While unable to comment on individual cases, Alison Cox, chief executive and founder of charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), with which the Lattie family is in contact, said: “What we do know is that, whilst in the majority of cases of young sudden cardiac death, there are no apparent symptoms, in around 20 percent of cases there can be warning signs and symptoms which give the opportunity to identify someone at risk. These might include palpitations or black outs.”
The family said they have been left with more questions than answers.
Lattie said Tameika “went to the hospital within plenty of time of the fall” and hospital staff should have asked more questions.
“It leaves us to wonder whether the hospital could have done more. Why did they just send her home? Shouldn’t they have kept her and monitored her?”
Lattie, Tameika’s mum and other family members told The Voice the family also feels let down by the LAS alleging that an ambulance called to the young mum’s home on December 24 took too long to arrive.
Lattie said: “I saw the ambulance and they were saying to us it was too late when they get there. There was no heartbeat and the neighbour was complaining that she had to call the ambulance twice, because the first ambulance she called took so long.”
Both Lewisham Hospital and the LAS have refuted the claims, saying they did what they could to help Tameika.
A spokesperson of Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust told The Voice on February 7:
‘We can confirm that Tameika Lattie was seen in the Emergency Department at Lewisham Hospital, and are deeply saddened by her tragic death.
‘Ms Lattie was given a full clinical assessment in line with National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines, and did not have any symptoms that would have led to a hospital admission. Our thoughts are with her family.’
LAS said paramedics arrived quickly, within seven minutes, less than the eight minutes recommended by guidelines.
"We were called at 8.16am on 24 December to an address on Catford Hill to reports of a patient not breathing.
"We sent two single responders in cars, two ambulance crews and a duty officer, with the first of our staff arriving at the scene within seven minutes. Our staff treated one patient, a 29-year-old woman. Despite extensive efforts to resuscitate her sadly she died at the scene."