A patient who was declared 'dead' by ambulance workers woke up in a North East hospital hours later, The Northern Echo can reveal.

The patient, whose identity has not been revealed, was taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital by paramedics at the North East Ambulance Service last week.

The individual, whose current condition has also not been revealed, had been declared dead when paramedics attended an incident earlier in the day but remarkably woke up in hospital later on.

An investigation has been launched to determine what happened. The NEAS say they are 'deeply sorry for the distress caused to the patient's family".

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Andrew Hodge, Director of Paramedicine at North East Ambulance Service, said: “As soon as we were made aware of this incident, we opened an investigation and contacted the patient’s family.

 “We are deeply sorry for the distress that this has caused them.  A full review of this incident is being undertaken and we are unable to comment any further at this stage.

“The colleagues involved are being supported appropriately and we will not be commenting further about any individuals at this point.”

This comes just months after a damning report looked into NEAS ambulance workers hiding medical errors and withholding evidence at the coroner's inquests.

It also analysed the way in which whistle-blowers in the organisation were treated.

The report, led by retired hospital boss Dame Marianne Griffiths, said: "Both this investigation and previous reports have found a number of failings in how the Trust should have responded to the incidents and then in their response to concerns about how failings were accepted and followed up.

"It is important that the Trust formally and publicly reiterates that there have been failings and restates its wholehearted apologies to the families concerned.

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"Leadership dysfunction was allowed to continue for far too long and this had a major impact on how teams within different directorates operated.

"A defensiveness grew and affected team operations, transparency, candour and judgement. They also clearly impacted the health and wellbeing of staff."

The independent review highlighted the tragic case of 17-year-old Quinn Beadle, from Shildon, who was found dead in woodland near her home, and a NEAS paramedic who declared her dead rather than trying to perform CPR.