One-hour ambulance wait for woman ‘struggling to breathe’

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust Ambulance
North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust Ambulance
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A father has spoken of his fear after his daughter collapsed in the street – and was forced to wait more than an hour for an ambulance as she fell unconscious and struggled to breathe.

Chris Sadler, 57, rushed to his daughter Emily’s side when she suddenly collapsed outside their home in Cavendish Road, Bispham, last Tuesday morning.

Emily Sadler had to wait more than an hour for an ambulance after she collapsed in the street

Emily Sadler had to wait more than an hour for an ambulance after she collapsed in the street

The 25-year-old was suffering from severe head pain and sickness and was drifting in and out of consciousness.

She had injected herself with an Epipen, which contained drugs to combat a life-threatening chilli allergy.

Chris and his wife Rosemary, 60, immediately called an ambulance for their daughter. Chris says she was forced to wait more than an hour before paramedics arrived.

He said: “She got out of her taxi and just collapsed. She was struggling to breathe and had a terrible pain in her head.

“The taxi driver came to our house and told us what had happened and my wife ran out in her pyjamas. We called the ambulance at around 6.20am.

“Emily was in a lot of pain and was falling unconscious. We were extremely worried because we were waiting longer and longer, to the extent that the taxi driver went away to do his next job and after that came back and said ‘are you still here?’

“We kept assuming that the ambulance was around the corner. We heard sirens a few times and thought they were for us, but they just went past.”

Chris, who works as an account administrator, said paramedics did not arrive at the scene until just after 7.30am – more than one hour after they were called.

He said: “If we had known it was going to take that long, the taxi driver would have happily taken us up to A&E. In fact, it would have been quicker to carry her to Bispham Library and catch the number 9 bus.

“When they finally arrived they got her straight into the ambulance and gave her oxygen and got her to the hospital as fast as they could.

“They had to put the sirens on.”

Emily was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where she spent three hours in the emergency room and 15 hours in A&E before being taken in for a CT and MRI scan.

She remains in hospital while doctors work to determine the cause of her sudden collapse.

Chris added that he now fears for his daughter’s health following the incident.

He said: “My main concern is that I would have thought that an unconscious girl who had injected herself with an epipen would have been a priority. It makes me really worried in case something like this happens again.

“This time she was lucky, but if her condition had been more serious you don’t know what might have happened.

“She could have suffered permanent brain damage or worse.

“I’m not angry, I’m scared.

“What does it tell us that resources have been stretched so thin that it takes so long for urgent treatment to be given?

“Are we really being well covered by our NHS?”

A spokesman for the North West Ambulance Service said: “The Trust would like to offer its sincerest apologies to the patient and their family for any distress that may have been caused whilst waiting for an ambulance.

“A call was made to us at 6.18am and a short time after we were told the patient did not want an ambulance to attend, however an ambulance did arrive on scene at 7.25am.

“All of our 999 calls are prioritised based on the information given by the caller and those patients with an immediate threat to life are dealt with as a priority.

“At the same time as this incident, we were experiencing very high demand for our service with 11 other incidents of the highest priority occurring within the same period.

“The Trust has no record of a complaint from the patient or her family, but we would urge them to contact our Patient Experience team so we can look into this matter further.”