Widower's anger at ambulance service who took 16 hours to send crew for dying wife
A widower has criticised an ambulance service which didn't send a crew for his dying wife until she had died – 16 hours after he first raised the alarm.
Teresa Simpson, 54, died last Wednesday of a cardiac arrest after a 'hypo' (diabetic hypoglycemia), when her blood sugar levels dropped too low and starved her brain of oxygen.
Her husband, Matthew, 47, believes she could still be alive if the Yorkshire Ambulance Service had sent a crew when he first pulled the emergency cord in their home at 3pm the previous day.
Mr Simpson says he raised the alarm after his wife, who suffered from the muscle weakening disease myotonic dystrophy as well as diabetes, became confused.
The couple, from Hull, East Yorkshire, were told three hours later that an ambulance couldn't be sent for two more hours.
They fell asleep at around 3am, but when Mr Simpson woke and checked on his wife at 7.30am the next day he found her lifeless in her wheelchair.
Mr Simpson, his wife's full-time carer, called 999 while trying to resuscitate her, and an ambulance was finally dispatched – 16 hours after he first raised the alarm.
Mrs Simpson was rushed to Hull Royal Infirmary and put on life support, but it was removed soon after and she was pronounced dead.
Mr Simpson said: "The ambulance only arrived at that time because I rang up and said she was lifeless. If I didn't ring back, I don't think the ambulance would have even turned up when it did.
"I always knew my wife's life was going to end because of her illness, but not like this.
"If she had got the help she needed, she would have been in hospital so when she had the heart attack, she would have been in there and got the help she needed."
Mr Simpson has made an official complaint to Yorkshire Ambulance Service, who have promised to investigate.
A spokesman for the service said in a statement: "First and foremost, our thoughts are with Mr Simpson on the sad loss of his wife Teresa this week, and we offer him our sincere condolences.
“Our Patient Relations Team has received correspondence from him raising concerns about our response to this incident.
“They will liaise directly with Mr Simpson about specific details relating to this.”.
Mr Simpson said: "I don't understand why they took all of that time to come.
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"If they didn't understand she was confused, then proper medically-trained people should be on the end of the phone asking questions.
"I don't think they asked me if she had diabetes - they should be asking these types of questions.
"If the ambulance came out to her, she would have had a fighting chance to survive in hospital instead of being left to die on her own."
The widower paid tribute to his "wonderful" wife of 24 years, describing her as an "outstanding wife and my first love".
He said: "She was very caring and loving and just didn't complain about her illness at all - she just got on with her life. She just always showed me love and support, she was an outstanding wife and my first love.
"She was just a wonderful, caring woman. I've just lost my best friend and my wife, I'm completely heartbroken."
Ambulances services have been placed under intense pressure amid warnings of a creaking NHS.
Last week, it emerged nearly one in three patients arriving at hospitals in England by ambulance waited at least 30 minutes to be handed over to A&E teams.
The numbers taken from the previous week, showed more than 11,000 patients – 15% of the total – waited over an hour.
Health chiefs said the NHS is likely to be facing “one of the most brutal winters on record”, with “a perfect storm” of rising virus cases, limited bed capacity and growing demand for emergency care.