The 18-year-old was one of dozens of people in the West Midlands who might have survived had crews not been held up in hospitals for hours, an ambulance chief claims
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
A teenager died when an ambulance arrived “three minutes late” after suffering fatal cardiac arrest.
The 18-year-old was one of dozens of people in the West Midlands who might have survived had crews not been held up in hospitals for hours, an ambulance chief claims.
Mark Docherty, Executive Director of Nursing and Commissioning for the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS), made the shock claim before visiting the family of the teenager who tragically lost his life.
He said, “We were three minutes late to rescue him.”
The young man, whose identity has not been released, had reportedly suffered cardiac arrest while out with friends Birmingham Live.
Mr Docherty believes he would have had a chance if paramedics had reached him sooner.
“I’ll be visiting his family shortly. The notes on the case would make you cry,” he said, his voice piercing. “He knew he was in trouble.”
Daily Post Wales)
“He told his friends ‘I have a strange feeling’ and lay down on the floor, knowing something was going to happen. And we just didn’t get there in time,” said Mr Docherty.
Category 1 “Danger to life” 999 calls should ideally be reached within a target time of seven minutes, with a margin of up to 15 minutes.
Mr Docherty added: “A fit 18-year-old would probably have a very, very good chance of surviving, but we were three minutes late, which makes a huge difference in cardiac arrest.
“I know the family will be asking what we are doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again and the truth is I don’t know what else we can do.”
It was a tragic example of too many ambulance crews “piled up” in front of congested hospitals, waiting to offload patients so they can get back on the road. The West Midlands Ambulance Service says the delays remain very long and prolonged, despite promises of urgent action.
Thousands of ambulance hours are lost every week because vehicles are routinely parked longer than the 30 minutes expected for a patient’s safe transfer, with delays often stretching to hours. It has been claimed that these delays are affecting response times.
Mr Docherty says his data analysis work identified 72 local people in one year who he believed had died due to delays in ambulance response. Earlier this week, the issue was raised at a WMAS board meeting.
At that meeting, the Chief of Ambulance Services, Nathan Hudson, said: “I would like to sincerely apologize to the patients and also some of their families for our response (times) because it is not appropriate at this time, it is horrible that we are at this time current position.”
Mr Docherty said the situation had a devastating impact on ambulance control staff and paramedics, who often saw and heard the impact of delays firsthand. Patients and families often had to make repeated calls to chase ambulances.
Sometimes that meant that control room personnel could hear people saying their last words as they deteriorated and waited for help to come to them. “It is very depressing to hear a call from a patient who is dead when we get through to them. We hear his last words.”
Concerns about hospital turnaround times have been reported for several months, but the situation has not improved despite hospitals’ efforts.
A Midlands NHS spokesman said: “NHS staff have done everything they can over the last year to contend with record numbers of emergency admissions and 911 calls while also treating hundreds of thousands of critically ill Covid patients.
“Anyone who needs NHS assistance should contact 111 online so staff can assist with the best option for your care, or call 999 for a life-threatening emergency.”
Systems across the region are also supported in the following ways:
- Work to develop and implement a policy to ensure that emergency services can immediately transfer a patient to ED when there is a risk to a patient in the community and an ambulance is not available in the area to respond;
- Developing action plans to spread risk across entire systems so patients can be handed over quickly and delays reduced;
- Working to ensure that patients who do not need the emergency department are treated appropriately elsewhere within the NHS;
- Ensure systems are working together to discharge patients when needed, to keep capacity available for those who need to be admitted.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/teen-died-after-ambulance-arrived-26626999 Teenager dies after ambulance arrived "three minutes late" after suffering cardiac arrest