Saturday 25 May 2019

Ambulances delayed by up to four hours on night mum (70) lay dying on road

Victim: Maura Porter waited 50 minutes for an ambulance
Victim: Maura Porter waited 50 minutes for an ambulance

Stephen Maguire

Five ambulances were "backed up" for between two and four and a half hours on the night a dying woman waited up to 50 minutes to be taken to hospital.

Mother-of-two Maura Porter (70) suffered life-threatening injuries when she was struck by a car just 200 yards from her home on December 30, 2013.

It took 50 minutes for a properly equipped emergency ambulance to reach Mrs Porter in Carndonagh, Co Donegal, more than 60km away, so she could be taken to hospital.

An inquest into the death of Mrs Porter began at Buncrana Courthouse yesterday.

The director of the National Ambulance Service, Dr Cathal O'Donnell, revealed that there were only nine ambulances available for the whole of Co Donegal on the evening.

However, five of those ambulances had been delayed at Letterkenny University Hospital trying to admit patients to the hospital.

It took these ambulances between two hours and 11 minutes and four hours and 42 minutes to do so.

The normal ambulance based in Mrs Porter's home town of Carndonagh was en route to an emergency call between Malin and Letterkenny.

An advanced paramedic team dispatched from Letterkenny University Hospital did reach Mrs Porter at 6.25pm.

However, an adequately equipped emergency ambulance reached Mrs Porter only at 6.35pm and took her to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry, but she died at 11.45pm from her injuries.

Dr O'Donnell said: "There were nine ambulancesrostered on duty in Donegal but they were held up at Letterkenny Hospital for hours and hours minding patients in corridors when they should have been available for dispatch."

Mrs Porter's heartbroken husband, Neil Porter, told the inquest how he knelt down beside his wife to reassure her on the roadway.

"I asked her to squeeze my hand but there was no response," he said.

Mr Porter added that the next morning the driver of the car which struck his wife, Austin Stewart, arrived at his home with a clergyman and they said some prayers.

He added that Mr Stewart told him that he had simply not seen his wife before the crash.

The inquest continues today.

Irish Independent

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