Apology for hold-up in taking seriously ill Islington baby to hospital
13:09 10 August 2012
A couple have spoken about the trauma of waiting nearly two hours for an ambulance to take their seriously-ill four day old baby to hospital.
New parents Kerry and Warren Edmondson say they were told by the ambulance service during numerous frantic phonecalls that their daughter Megan was not a priority after she stopped breathing at their home in Milner Square, Islington.
When she arrived at University College London Hospital on April 2, she was diagnosed with a potentially fatal airbourne virus and put into an induced coma with just a 20 per cent chance of survival.
Mrs Edmondson, 27, said: “She was really lethargic and wasn’t feeding. I phoned the doctor and he told me to ring the ambulance but when we rang them they said it would take about an hour-and-a-half as we weren’t a priority and people had been waiting two to three hours.
“I couldn’t believe it. It’s common sense to me that a newborn baby is right up there – it was absolutely infuriating.”
Half an hour after the initial call, Megan had started feeding so her parents cancelled the ambulance. However, within minutes she stopped breathing and the couple, who say they now require counselling due to the trauma, made another desperate call back.
Megan came round but stopped breathing several times more before the ambulance arrived about one hour and 20 minutes later.
Mr Edmondson, 30, said: “I would say I had nine to 11 phone conversations and told she wasn’t a priority. This was even after she stopped breathing – I was ready to ring the police.
“When she arrived at hospital we were told that if we had waited any longer she would not have still been there as the virus had taken over her body. We nearly lost her a few times.”
A spokesman for London Ambulance Service said they received the first call at 10.36pm and sent an ambulance, which was then cancelled at 11pm.
He continued: “We subsequently received a number of further calls, though our records show at no stage were we advised that the baby might have stopped breathing. A single responder in a car arrived at the scene at 12.18am, followed by an ambulance crew 10 minutes later.
“We would like to apologise for the delay and for any further distress that this may have caused.”
The Edmondson family showed their appreciation to the hospital staff who saved Megan by raising £500 for them.