Ambulance service inquiry after it took two hours to get stroke victim to hospital
11:30am Tuesday 12th February 2013
AMBULANCE chiefs have launched an investigation after it took two hours to get a Hampshire grandmother to hospital when she suffered a stroke.
Molly Jean Chalk’s sons dialled 999 immediately after she collapsed and rapid response paramedics arrived within minutes.
But they could not give the care and drugs she needed so an ambulance was called. Yet, despite advice that speedy treatment is crucial for stroke victims, it took another 90 minutes for the emergency vehicle to arrive at Molly’s Eastleigh home.
It was a further half an hour before she was delivered to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.
Last night she lay in a hospital bed with severe brain damage, paralysed down one side, unable to recognise her family and with little prospect of making a recovery.
Sons Paul and Jason are furious at the delay in treating their 80-year-old mum.
They say they even offered to take her to the hospital themselves in their car but were told it was “best to wait” because the paramedics could not carry her out.
“It’s so frustrating. We’re so angry about it,” Paul, 58, told the Daily Echo.
“You see the adverts, they say you have to act fast and it takes them so long. We want to raise this so that other people don’t have to go through this.
“Jason lives with Mum, he devotes himself to her he’s totally devastated by it all.”
The family has lodged a complaint with South Central Ambulance Service, which last night refused to confirm or deny the two-hour delay.
A spokesman said: “We take any issues of delay of care to our patients very seriously and therefore we are investigating the complaint. Until the investigation has been completed we are unable to comment further.”
Experts say quick treatment is vital when someone suffers a stroke. Dr Clare Walton from the Stroke Association said: “When someone has a stroke it’s vital that they get treated as quickly as possible.
“In some cases, patients can benefit from clot busting treatments which could reduce the amount of brain damage.”
Now Molly’s family – including daughter Sarah – are facing the agonising decision whether to keep their mother on a life support machine or allow her to die peacefully.
Paul added: “The doctor has said nothing about making a recovery. There might be a very slight improvement, but her quality of life would be zilch. It’s heart-wrenching seeing your mum like that. Who would want to keep their mum alive like that?”