Man found ‘frozen to death’ outside his home 16 hours after an ambulance was called

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An investigation has now been launched after the shocking incident was revealed by a whistleblower left horrified at the consequences of the NHS crisis

A man ‘froze to death’ outside his home after waiting 16 hours for an ambulance to arrive, it is reported.

A worried whistleblower from the ambulance service handed a damning dossier to the media that detailed the case and several others.

The man, believed to be in his 50s, was found dead outside his home in Lowestoft, Suffolk, on 27 December, according to reports.

The leaked document lists 41 cases where patients died or suffered harm because of ambulance delays over the Christmas and New Year period when the NHS was experiencing huge winter pressures.

The East of England Ambulance Service said it had now launched an official investigation into the patient’s death.

Police had called the ambulance service with concerns about the man who was seen sitting outside his home the day after Boxing Day when temperatures barely climbed above freezing all day, the BBC reported.

As he was breathing and conscious with “no obvious injuries”, a decision was reportedly made by the service not to send an ambulance.

A second call about the same man was made about 16 hours later by a third party who reported him not to be breathing and in cardiac arrest.

That time an ambulance was sent and it arrived within eight minutes, but the crew found the man dead.

The leaked document said the patient looked like he had “frozen to death”

The ambulance service said it could not confirm how the man died as that could only be done by a doctor or a coroner.

All of the delays listed in the dossier happened between December 18 and January 3…

  • In Benfleet, Essex a patient died after going into cardiac arrest following a fall. The ambulance was delayed by more than six hours.
  • In Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, a patient died while waiting for an ambulance that took more than 13 hours to arrive.
  • A patient in Norwich, who waited more than seven hours for an ambulance after going into cardiac arrest, later died.
  • In Bushey, Hertfordshire, a patient died after going into cardiac arrest and an ambulance took 47 minutes to arrive.

An ambulance service spokesman said the trust had contingency plans in place to deal with winter pressures, but had experienced “extreme levels” of demand over the new year period.

She added: “The trust was unable to respond to a very small number of the 50,000 calls we handled over a 15 day period as quickly as we would like.

“The trust is undertaking a rigorous analysis of that small proportion of calls.

“Where any suspected cases of potential harm are identified, then the trust will exercise its duty of candour to notify patients or their families.”

Earlier this month 55,000 operations were delayed in an attempt to free up beds because of huge pressures on A&E departments.

Patients were left being treated in corridors or in hospital car parks as wards ran out of beds.

The president of the Society for Acute Medicine, Nick Scriven, described the situation as being as bad as he’d ever known.

 

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