Wednesday 21 March 2018

Dying mum had to wait 50 minutes for an ambulance

The late Maura Porter who was tragically killed in Carndonagh
The late Maura Porter who was tragically killed in Carndonagh

Greg Harkin

A heartbroken son has spoken of how he lay down on a road beside his dying mum after a traffic accident as they waited 50 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

Brendan Porter said he still hasn't been told why it took so long for a crew to attend to his mum Maura (70) after she was knocked down as she came back from church.

She was eventually taken to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry, more than half an hour away, where she died six hours after the December 30 crash.

The delay meant it was an hour and a half before Mrs Porter was admitted to hospital.

Mrs Porter was buried after Requiem Mass in Carndonagh, Co Donegal, last Friday.

The HSE confirmed that an ambulance based in the Inishowen town had been despatched to another incident; with the crew which dealt with retired ESB worker Mrs Porter being sent from Letterkenny, 64km away.

"We will never know what would have happened had the ambulance arrived earlier but my mother could still be alive today if it had come sooner," said 41-year-old civil engineer Mr Porter.

"Valuable time was wasted, time that could have given surgeons an opportunity which may have saved her life."

Mr Porter, his sister Davina and dad Neil, a retired firefighter, stayed with their mother on the road near their home anxiously waiting for the ambulance to arrive as rain poured down. Three doctors and two nurses arrived at the scene but could not help Maura as she needed the ambulance to transport her for urgent medical attention from surgeons.

"I lay with mum comforting her and praying with her to reassure her. We knew she was in a bad way," said Mr Porter.

"All I could think of was why wasn't the ambulance coming quicker. I am speaking out because I don't want this to happen to another family. She didn't get what she was legally entitled to, an ambulance within a reasonable time limit. There is a duty of care from the HSE."

The latter admitted that it took 90 minutes from the crash until Mrs Porter was admitted to hospital.

As she died in a hospital in the North, an inquest into her death will be held there.

Mr Porter added: "I will dedicate all my efforts now to ensure the provision of an adequate response time for ambulances in Inishowen and in Donegal as a positive act to remember my mother."

Irish Independent

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