Canonbury son had to give dead mother kiss-of-life in 999 wait

Cecilia Comer

Cecilia Comer - Credit: Archant

»A man whose mother died while waiting nearly an hour for an ambulance has spoken of his “harrowing“ ordeal, which saw him give the kiss of life to his dead parent.

Terry Comer Pic: Dieter Perry

Terry Comer Pic: Dieter Perry - Credit: Archant

Terry Comer, 65, had to endure a terrible 50-minute wait, during which time paramedics asked him to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and CPR on his mum Cecilia, who was already dead.

The 92-year-old fell ill at their home in Canonbury Park, Canonbury on March 11. She was still conscious when Mr Comer called 999 but died before paramedics turned up.

He said: “It was really harrowing. I have had too many other things on my mind to worry about it until recently, but it was really wrong of them.

“It’s not just the wait they put me through, but the whole experience.

“I had to give CPR and mouth-to-mouth to my own mum when I knew she was already dead.

“The paramedics on the phone told me I had to keep doing it until the ambulance came.

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“You could tell she was dead – I had to pry her mouth open because it was locked shut.

“It was horrible.”

Mr Comer wrote to the London Ambulance Service (LAS), who said they would direct their responses to Mrs Comer’s brother, scientist Dr Brian Potter, who had made an official complaint. Dr Potter received a letter from them on May 7 which said they “would like to apologise that the service we provided fell below the standard we seek to acheive”.

It added: “I know you will be concerned about whether Mrs Comer may have survived if an ambulance had arrived sooner. I’m afraid this is impossible to say, given that we know little about her cause of death.”

Dr Potter said: “What they have come back with is a load of rubbish. I am going to request a photocopy of the actual log and report of that night, so we can actually see what happened.

‘‘The letter they sent looks like a stock one they roll out and for each occasion and just changed the name.

‘‘I’m disgusted by it and to be honest I’m really angry.”

A spokesman for the LAS said: “We provided a detailed and comprehensive response to Mrs Comer’s family on 07 May 2013. We have not heard from Mrs Comer’s family since the response was sent but we would invite them to contact our patient experience department should they have any further enquiries.”

“We again offer our condolences to the family and are sorry that we were not able to send an ambulance more quickly.”

The LAS said that the wait was due to high demand for services and Mrs Comer was conscious during the first 999 call.

She then deteriorated and after a second call she was upgraded to a red priority.

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