North West Wales

Jasmine Lapsley inquest: Grape choke death 'accidental'

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Media captionJasmine Lapsley's parents feel she was let down by the ambulance service

The death of a six-year-old girl who choked on a grape while on holiday in Gwynedd was accidental, a coroner has ruled.

Jasmine Lapsley, from Liverpool, collapsed and later died in August 2014 while her family were staying in Morfa Nefyn.

Coroner Nicola Jones said more ambulances were needed in north Wales during the summer months.

The Welsh Ambulance Service said it had "learnt a lot" from Jasmine's death.

Image copyright Daily Post

While delivering her conclusion at the inquest in Caernarfon, the coroner said there needed to be better air support during the evenings and night when the air ambulance does not currently fly.

Ms Jones also said she would to make a report to the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) to improve its emergency response.

Jasmine's parents had told the hearing about the chaos and panic as they tried to stop her choking.

An off-duty policeman and passing firemen who were flagged down gave CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

The firemen were heard saying "Where is it? Where's the helicopter?" as urgent follow-up calls were made chasing the 999 response, the hearing was told.

'Devastated'

The six-day inquest heard the two closest ambulances to Jasmine were both on emergency calls.

Volunteer community first responders arrived 22 minutes after the initial call while the ambulance took 25 minutes to arrive.

Image copyright Shirley Roulston/geograph
Image caption Jasmine Lapsley had been on holiday with her family in Morfa Nefyn

Jasmine was taken by RAF helicopter to Bangor's Ysbyty Gwynedd hospital, where her parents were told she had "zero" chance of survival and her life-support machine was switched off.

Medical experts told the hearing even if the ambulance had arrived within the eight minute guideline time for emergencies, there was still "no realistic chance of survival" due to cardiac arrest and her brain being starved of oxygen.

Jasmine's family said, in a statement read out after the hearing: "Jasmine was failed by the Welsh Ambulance Service. Jasmine was denied the opportunity for life-saving care that she desperately needed."

Her family said they were "devastated" by details they had learned during the inquest.

After the inquest, Tracy Myhill, chief executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: "What happened to Jasmine was an absolute tragedy and our thoughts and sympathies remain with Mr and Mrs Lapsley.

"We know that there are things we could have done differently, both during and after the event, and for that we are genuinely sorry.

"Whilst we have already made many improvements since Jasmine's tragic death - like the method we use to treat a child whose airway is compromised - we know that there is still work to do."

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