A WOMAN choked to death less than a mile from hospital while she and her husband were kept waiting for over 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive from another town.
Liz Riordan died at Kerry General Hospital on November 28 - the day after her 53rd birthday - four days after she choked on a piece of food at a local restaurant.
Although they were close by the hospital, no ambulance was available in Tralee and one had to be sent from Listowel, over 27km away.
Her heartbroken husband Michael said if he had known the ambulance was being dispatched from Listowel, he would have driven his wife the short distance to Kerry General Hospital.
He's calling for an inquiry into procedures that led to the ambulance being sent from Listowel by the ambulance control centre in Dublin.
Mrs Riordan was placed on a life support machine at KGH but never regained consciousness.
Her family had to make the heartbreaking decision on Thursday last to switch off the machine that was keeping her alive.
"If I had known it was coming from Listowel, I would have driven her to hospital myself," Mr Riordan, who is a trained first aid responder and had desperately tried to save his wife's life as she lay on the side of the road, said.
"If I had done that, the outcome might have been very different."
The couple had already been in their car when he placed the emergency call at 3.36pm on November 24.
The Health Service Executive has confirmed that at the time the call was received, all local emergency resources were engaged in other calls and the nearest available emergency resource was in Listowel.