Tragic final hours of ‘wonderful’ Chesterfield mum recalled at inquest

The husband of a much-loved Chesterfield mother has told an inquest of the heartbreaking hours before her death.

Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 4:32 pm
Chantelle Woodhead. Picture contributed by family.
Chantelle Woodhead. Picture contributed by family.

Chantelle Woodhead passed away at Chesterfield Royal Hospital in January last year.

On Wednesday, Chesterfield coroners' court heard the 45-year-old died of influenza.

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Chantelle Woodhead. Picture contributed by family.

Mrs Woodhead was the landlady and manageress of several pubs in the Chesterfield area - including the Terminus, the Brampton Mile and Isis Noir - before she gave up work to care for her grandfather and then raise her two daughters.

Giving evidence at the inquest, Robert Woodhead, who was married to Mrs Woodhead for ten years, told how his usually fit and active wife developed flu-like symptoms in the middle of January last year.

He said he went to the supermarket to buy her some medication on January 20 and found an ambulance outside their house on Newbold Road when he returned.

Mr Woodhead said: "An ambulance crew was in our bedroom speaking to Chantelle, who said she couldn't breathe properly.

"It was identified that she had flu.

"The crew gave advice about combatting flu, such as taking paracetamol and drinking fluids.

"When I was there, there was no suggestion that Chantelle would be taken to hospital - that wasn't on the agenda, which actually put our minds at ease.

"They said 'if she gets worse, call another ambulance'.

"I said 'can we get a doctor to have a look at her?' and the response was 'a doctor won't come out, you'd have to take her to the out-of-hours service' and Chantelle said 'I can't get out of bed'."

Mr Woodhead said the ambulance crew left and he went to visit his mother before he returned home in the middle of the afternoon.

He said he saw a 'significant deterioration' in Mrs Woodhead's condition in the evening.

Mr Woodhead continued: "I said 'let me have a look at you'.

"Her legs had gone purple and mottled.

"That's when I had a real concern - I'd never seen her legs look like that - and I called 111."

The operator dispatched a second ambulance and it was decided that Mrs Woodhead should be taken to hospital.

Mr Woodhead said: "Chantelle went down the stairs on her bottom and the crew put her in a chair and she was put in the ambulance.

"My impression was she was in the ambulance for longer than half an hour before she left.

"The crew advised me to ring the hospital in an hour and the nurses would update me.

"I waited an hour before I rang the hospital - and I was told 'you need to get here straight away'."

Mrs Woodhead died on January 21, an hour after she was admitted to hospital.

Tessa Collis was one of the paramedics who attended Mrs Woodhead's house on the first occasion.

Mrs Collis, who is employed by East Midlands Ambulance Service, said: "Mrs Woodhead's observations were good and we diagnosed her as having flu.

"We told her to continue taking paracetamol and fluids and if she started to feel worse to call 111 or 999.

"I do remember having a conversation about going to hospital - I don't remember if Mr Woodhead was there.

"Mrs Woodhead didn't wish to go to hospital and she declined an out-of-hours appointment."

Coroner Peter Nieto asked Mrs Collis if she thought Mrs Woodhead required a home visit by an out-of-hours doctor.

Mrs Collis said she did not think a doctor would visit Mrs Woodhead at home given her age and the fact she was generally fit and healthy.

Pathologist Dr Danesh Taraporewalla told the inquest that the cause of Mrs Woodhead's death was influenza.

The inquest continues and is expected to conclude on Friday.

After Mrs Woodhead died, Mr Woodhead told the Derbyshire Times: “She was the best person to be with.

“Everyone loved Chantelle.

“She was very outgoing and doted on her children.

“It’s hard to think they'll have to grow up without their wonderful mother around.”