Three pensioners died after ambulances took hours to arrive, inquest hears

Phoebe Southworth
An ambulance is parked outside an Accident and Emergency department - AFP

Three pensioners died as they waited for ambulances in East Sussex, an inquest heard.

Alan Craze, the Hastings coroner, said the three deaths in the summer of 2017 “all involve issues relating to the prompt dispatch of an ambulance”.

Daisy Filby, 90, had to wait for two hours and 25 minutes for an ambulance as she lay face down, unable to move, at her home in Seaford after a fall, Hastings Coroners’ Court heard on Monday.

Her daughter Linda Filby was unable to lift her up and kept ringing 999. She said: “On the final occasion I called the ambulance… I asked them to hurry as she was clearly now in distress.”

Her mother eventually stopped breathing and was pronounced dead after paramedics arrived, 145 minutes after the first call, the inquest heard.

A post mortem examination put cause of death as postural asphyxia and hypertensive heart disease.

Maurice Goodwin, 87, was discharged from hospital on Aug 31 and returned home.

His family discovered that his trousers were soaked in “a lot” of blood from his catheter, which was also full of blood.

Barbara, his wife, called 999 at 5.52pm but was told an ambulance would not be coming and Mr Goodwin had been referred to the community team.

Concerned for her husband as time went on and nobody arrived, she kept calling 999.

District nurses arrived at 9.05pm – more than three hours after the first 999 call.

“They said it was too late and he had died,” Mrs Goodwin said.

A post mortem examination put cause of death as an exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and ischemic heart disease.

Anthony Harding’s wife called 999 at 6.32pm after he collapsed on Aug 21.

The inquest heard that an ambulance technician was dispatched to Mr Harding’s home at 7.36pm and arrived at 7.45pm.

He found Mr Harding lying on his back in a bathroom but noted his airway was clear and he was able to talk.

However, he then had a seizure and was sick, and Mr Leahy requested “red crew backup”.

Paramedics arrived to assist Mr Leahy at 8.31pm and a critical care paramedic arrived at 10.21pm, but Mr Harding was pronounced dead at 10.34pm, the inquest heard.

A post mortem examination put cause of death as a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm.

The inquests continue.