Hucknall woman 'died and had to be revived' after 45-minute ambulance wait

Shauna Ford, 62, pictured at home in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire.
Shauna Ford, 62, pictured at home in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire. -Credit:Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post

A Nottinghamshire woman claims she died and had to be revived after call operators delayed sending an ambulance to her home. Shauna Ford, 62, who has both chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease, says she technically died and had to be revived after deteriorating during a 45-minute wait for an ambulance Saturday, May 5.

Despite the terminally-ill patient pleading with East Midlands Ambulance Service for an urgent ambulance visit to her home on Lancaster Road, Hucknall, as she was unable to breathe, she said the operator instead proceeded to ask questions about if she was diabetic or was bleeding. "I can't breathe, I can't breathe. That's what I was saying to the person on the 999 call who just seemed to be reading from a list.

"I was told to wait for two hours, when I was repeatedly telling the operator that I was dying. In that time I deteriorated to the point where I did die, but fortunately they managed to later revive me."

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Her lung had been punctured and the situation was so serious that paramedics asked her daughter if they should put Ms Ford to bed - so she could die in her home rather than on the way to hospital. "I was on the verge of death and they had to pump me full of everything in the ambulance to keep me going, but if the ambulance had got here earlier maybe I wouldn't be in that state.

"The last thing I remember is the paramedics eventually arrived, I tried to say 'oxygen' before I passed out and woke up at around 11.30am on Saturday morning." Ms Ford was taken to Queen's Medical Centre by the paramedics, who she praised as "brilliant", and doctors managed to save her life.

In contrast to the actions of the NHS' medical staff, Ms Ford argued the call operator failed to treat the situation seriously and was distressed it had taken four 999 calls to convince EMAS to send an ambulance. "I was asked to call back if I got worse, but I had explained I was on my own and that I couldn't really get any worse," she said.

"I'm sick and tired of having to fight for an ambulance," Ms Ford added, explaining she had to call 999 several times in the past due to her poor health. "At the moment I'm fighting everyday, and I don't want to die because I couldn't get an ambulance."

Ms Ford said she feared long waits for ambulance could cost "the lives of a lot of people". "The good thing is that I'm still here, but EMAS have been told it's not good enough before and lessons haven't been learned." It should take eight minutes for an ambulance to arrive if the call is life threatening or an emergency, according to NHS England.

Gary Lockley, head of service delivery in East Midlands Ambulance Service's emergency operations centre, said: “The NHS and ambulance service continues to operate under tremendous pressure.

“We are in the process of investigating Ms Ford's complaint fully, and for that reason I’m afraid that we are unable to provide any further information about what happened at this stage. We know that we’re not able to get to all patients as quickly as we would like to, and for that we are sorry.”