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Shorter 999 waiting time could have saved life

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

A coroner believes that 74-year-old Fred Pring could have survived his heart failure had ambulances arrived within the eight-minute waiting time target.  Mr Pring had been lying on the floor for over forty minutes before he died.  His wife had phoned the emergency services four times, after being told that the service was “too busy”, with her last call informing the service that they were “too late”, and that her husband had already died.

Mr Pring suffered with heart and pulmonary disease for many years and was receiving treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease prior to his death.  While his wife had been phoning 999, it was heard that Mr Pring had been crying out in pain while lying on the floor.

“Optimised the prospects of his survival”

North East Wales coroner John Gittins said that urgent changes had to be made to prevent accidents like this from happening again.  He said: “it is probable that if an ambulance had arrived promptly after the first call (within the target response time of eight minutes), he would have lived long enough to be transported to hospital where further medical treatment would have optimised the prospects of his survival”.

Gill Pleming of the ambulance service told the inquest that there are seven ambulances and one rapid response vehicle to cover all of Flintshire and Wrexham; all of which had been busy at the time of Mrs Pring’s first call.

The Welsh Ambulance Service and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board apologised to the family of Mr Pring – who said they had been “let down” by the service – and ensured that they had made a “number of improvements since March 2013.

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