Two hour ambulance delay leaves woman brain damaged
- AuthorJudith Thomas-Whittingham
On 27 October 2010, Caren Paterson, 33, collapsed in her bedroom and her boyfriend dialled 999 at 1.39 pm to report that she was unconscious, breathing abnormally and had blue lips.
However, crews failed to respond because her home was incorrectly labelled at a “high-risk” address. Instead, the ambulance crew remained stationary yards from Ms Paterson’s flat in Islington, north London, until police arrived, by which time Ms Paterson’s brain was starved of oxygen. Ms Paterson then suffered a cardiac arrest at 3.15 pm, just before the emergency services arrived.
The London Ambulance Service admitted a catalogue of errors had left Ms Paterson with chronic amnesia, anger outbursts, confusion and disorientation. Serious failings were identified in the way the operators dealt with the call, the ambulance’s failure to respond to her deteriorating condition and their breach of policies.
Ms Paterson’s family are now fighting a legal battle to secure a long-term care package that will provide her with the support she needs.
Ms Paterson’s mother, Eleanor, said “The thought of an ambulance crew sitting waiting while my daughter lay in her flat as her condition went from serious to life-threatening, causing irreparable damage to her brain, is still so shocking. We welcome the admission of liability as a significant step towards ensuring Caren will continue to receive the care, treatment and specialist attention she will need for the rest of her life.”
The ambulance crew had eventually arrived 102 minutes after the first 999 call but even then there was nobody senior enough on hand to administer the treatment Ms Paterson required.
A London Ambulance spokeswoman said: “We would like again to offer our sincere apologies. We have accepted liability for the shortcomings in the care that was provided. We hope that the legal representatives can now work together to find a resolution.”
If you believe that you have received treatment by a medical professional which was below a reasonable standard and would like to make a claim, we have a dedicated team of clinical negligence solicitors who would be happy to help you. You can call us for initial advice now on 0844 245 6602.
By clinical negligence specialist, Adam Pennington