A FAMILY whose infant son died on Monday was kept waiting for 30 minutes for an ambulance that had been dispatched to a different county.
Morfeusz Chlamtacz, who was only three-and-a-half weeks old, died of a suspected cot death in the early hours of Monday morning.
His mother, Katarzyna, made an emergency 999 call at 1.16am but had to wait half an hour for the ambulance to arrive. It has emerged that the delay occurred because the ambulance had been dispatched to a similar address in a different county.
The distraught family are living in an area known as the Tennis Village in Tralee, Co Kerry. However, an ambulance was sent to Tennis Village on the Model Farm Road in Co Cork.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has acknowledged that the first emergency resource arrived at the scene 30 minutes after the 999 call was made. It also confirmed the call had been received at 1.16am on Monday.
Since May, the National Ambulance Service based in Townsend Street in Dublin has taken over dealing with emergency ambulance calls for Cork and Kerry.
Morfeusz's heartbroken father, Sebastian, was in Poland when his baby son died. Morfeusz was the couple's only son. They already had two little girls, Kora (2) and Tola (5).
"I don't know what happened," said Mr Chlamtacz, who is now based in Poland but whose wife and children still live in Tralee.
"When I rang my wife on Sunday evening at 5pm everything was okay, but the doctor said that he stopped breathing when he was asleep."
The HSE has extended its sympathies to the Chlamtacz family. A statement said the National Ambulance Service was satisfied the "necessary protocols around responding to an emergency were adhered to in this case".
This is not the first incident where ambulances have been sent to the wrong locations since the new centralised service took over.
Last month, an ambulance was sent to Cloghane in west Kerry instead of Clahane in Ballyduff in north Kerry, some 60km away, to deal with a two-car collision.
An ambulance was also sent to Listowel instead of Lispole, 69km away.
Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae, who has raised the issue, said lives could be lost.
He is calling for an independent safety audit to be carried out on the ambulance service.