AN inquest into the death of a 55-year-old mother from Helston has heard how no one had expected her to deteriorate in the way that she did.

Ruth Edgcumbe, who lived in Helston with her husband Ron, a former town councillor, died on February 8, 2023, from natural causes, after a long history of cardiac-related health issues, an inquest has recorded.

An inquest was held on Monday, February 12 in order to ascertain the circumstances surrounding her death and heard evidence from members of her family and health professionals, including the paramedics who attended her address on the day of her passing. 

The inquest heard how, after a visit from a specialist cardiac nurse who had been working with her since 2019, Ruth was advised that she should go to hospital as he was concerned about low blood pressure and low oxygen saturation. However, Ruth advised that she did not want to go and wanted to rest at her home address. 

Following on from his visit, the specialist nurse went to a pharmacy to collect Ruth's medications and returned to her address to drop them off. While there, he again advised Ruth that she should go to the hospital, and when she declined again, advised her that if her condition worsened, she should call 999. 

Eventually, Ruth's condition worsened and 999 was called. When an ambulance was called to the address, the inquest heard how the attending paramedic and emergency care assistant were working off limited information about the call-out, and the senior paramedic had some difficulty in obtaining any background information. 


The paramedic told the inquest how he had become concerned when he noticed GTN spray - a spray for relieving chest pains associated with conditions such as angina - at the address and when he asked Ruth how many times she had used it, she could not tell him. 

The paramedic explained that he wanted to perform a 12-lead ECG, however, Ruth did not want to do this, so a three-lead ECG was performed. The trace which the ECG generated was abnormal, but the inquest heard how this was no surprise due to Ruth's significant cardio history. 

The inquest heard from Ruth's daughter Hailey, who said how her mother would often neglect herself in order to put the family first. 

She also questioned why her mother had not been taken to hospital.

However, the inquest heard that Ruth had been asked by the paramedics whether she wanted to go to hospital and she refused, claiming she had had a bad experience previously.

Two hours after the paramedics had left, Ruth collapsed and, despite attempts at CPR, passed away at her home.

In his findings of fact, Senior Coroner Andrew Cox explained that neither the paramedic or the specialist cardiac nurse "expected the acute deterioration that developed."

He went on to explain that there were areas where things that should have been done better, pointing out that additional training on interpreting ECG traces was "entirely appropriate." 

Coroner Andrew Cox went on to say: "It's clear from the post mortem report that this is a death from natural causes," and that despite "some shortcomings" nothing about the care Ruth received was close to what he would describe as neglect. 

He said: "I need to be clear that, had other treatment been introduced, the outcome would have been prevented, and I don't think we can say that."

"Ruth has died from natural causes, and I extend my condolences to the family for their loss."