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Elderly woman died after being left waiting for an ambulance in the rain for an hour

By Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: March 15, 2014

By PATRICK DALY Herald Reporter @thepatrickdaly

Comments (8)

AN 84-year-old woman died after she was left lying in the rain for more than an hour as she waited for an ambulance, an inquest heard.

Rachel Wilson went out to her back garden to take-in some clothes from the washing line when she fell and fractured her right hip.

In a statement read out at HM Coroner’s Office, her daughter Margaret Wilson described how she waited next to her mother for an hour for paramedics to arrive.

Her mother died two days later at Derriford hospital as a result of pneumonia and her broken hip, according to Dr D Harmse who carried out the post-mortem examination.

Ms Wilson explained that she was about to make a phonecall on Monday October 7 when she heard a loud shout coming from the garden.

“I heard a loud noise. It was mum moaning.

"She was calling out my name,” she recalled.

“I dropped everything and ran to her. I checked her over without moving her.

"I grabbed my blanket and waterproof coat to cover her as it was raining.

“She said she was going out to get the washing when the back step flipped causing her to fall.

“I pressed her Aid Call button to alert an ambulance. I think the time was roughly 1.40pm.”

She said she contacted the emergency services again shortly after 2pm to express concern that medical staff had not showed up yet.

“I said to them, it’s raining and she’s lying on a cold hard floor,” added Ms Wilson.

The call handler explained that it had not been half-an-hour yet, meaning they were still within their target time.

A single paramedic who had come from Torpoint turned up but he explained he could not move her on his own, according to Ms Wilson.

He treated the elderly patient and gave her morphine while she lay on the ground.

Ms Wilson estimated that an ambulance crew arrived at 2.45pm.

Daniel Thorogood, a spokesman for South West Ambulance Service, told the court through a submitted statement that demand for an ambulance service in South West Devon was higher than expected that day.

The ambulance crew that attended Mrs Wilson had been called to a suspected asthma attack, an 11-year-old having a fit and a man with a cardiac history, aged 86, who was complaining of chest pains.

They all required rapid response within eight minutes.

The calls were stood down allowing them to head to Mrs Wilson’s address in Crabtree in Plymouth.

The Royal Navy seaman’s widow died on Wednesday October 9 after an operation and time spent in intensive care.

Coroner Ian Arrow recorded an accidental death.

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  • Tony248  |  March 16 2014, 12:51PM

    More worthless scum. The idiots who run this website (or more accurately, fail to run it) should hang their heads in shame. Unfortunately, it reflects badly on the WMN for using it.

    Rate 0
  • Bubblybabs92  |  March 14 2014, 10:49PM

    Agree with you tony248 these scammers are scum, they don,t care of someones death or any sad news

    Rate   6
  • Tony248  |  March 14 2014, 9:53PM

    What sort of worthless scum puts a post like that on this sort of story? Scamming bars tard. And what is wrong with the people running this website, these swindlers have been infesting it for MONTHS now and nothing gets done.

    Rate   11
  • Tony248  |  March 14 2014, 6:48PM

    Maybe they will, and maybe they should. The issue is with insufficient resources following cuts, meaning that decisions like this are forced upon the service. Emergency services should never be cut.

    Rate   11
  • moonlight2014  |  March 14 2014, 5:42PM

    Sadly a child having a fit, someone unable to breath and a cardiac case will always take precedence over someone who has fallen

    Rate   6
  • Tony248  |  March 14 2014, 5:29PM

    The simple fact is that this isn't good enough. Tory cuts to the NHS are certainly beginning to bite. Would it have taken an hour if D.Cameron Esq. had been the injured party?

    Rate   3
  • scottypafc20  |  March 14 2014, 3:52PM

    willems - judging someone after reading a biased side of the story.

    Rate   4
  • willems  |  March 14 2014, 2:24PM

    Nice caring attitude shown by the call handler. Robotic moron!

    Rate   1