Wednesday 18 July 2018

'Kevin had a right to live' - wife of man who died waiting for an ambulance

Local GP criticises HSE and Government over fatal delay

Galway based GP Dr Peter Sloane
Galway based GP Dr Peter Sloane

Laura Lynott

A woman whose husband died while they waited for an ambulance in a rural village has delivered a public message to Government: "Kevin had a right to live."

Kevin Molloy (53) took ill two weeks ago and phoned his wife Bríd to return to their home in rural Carraroe, Connemara.

When she arrived, Mr Molloy had become desperately sick, suffering severe abdominal pains. She was forced to call an ambulance and give CPR.

But by the time the ambulance arrived, more than half-an-hour later, it was too late and Mr Molloy was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

"Any minute is a long time," Ms Molloy said. "Kevin had a right to live, a right to have someone there to give him the chance to live."

Ms Molloy said that she never imagined there would be a delay, as there is an ambulance station in the village.

But Dr Peter Sloane, the village GP, said he's been called out so many times to emergencies by the National Ambulance Service (NAS) that he knew of the delays. It led him to file an invoice to the HSE in order to make a point.

Mr Molloy had devoted his life to caring for his mother in her senior years. She died last year and the couple had been beginning a new chapter of their lives.

"We were looking forward to a pleasant time together without him having responsibility [of caring]," Ms Molloy said. "He'd started a caring course and he was doing things for himself.

"He was a lovely man, I'm going to miss him.

"This can't happen anymore, everyone has a right to get a chance to live. I don't want to hear another episode of this happening in our area in the near future.

"They [the Government] need to come up with a plan, so no one is left wondering 'Am I doing CPR properly?' or 'When will someone come to help me?'

"Give someone the chance with a trained paramedic, to see if they can live," she said.

Dr Sloane (inset left) arrived 20 minutes after the emergency and gave Mr Molloy CPR and aided with a defibrillator, but he said trained paramedics were needed at the scene.

The GP said he wanted "honesty" from Government and the HSE, that they need to fix the problem of ambulance delays and paramedic shortages.

"If we look at everything that we pay for in the State, our health is one of the most priceless things we have," he said.

"Any citizen should be able to expect that an ambulance is available within a judicious amount of time.

"If they tell me an ambulance that takes one hour to get to somebody in the State is acceptable, well I don't know what planet they are living on."

An NAS spokesman said it received an emergency call at 11.39pm on January 25.

"At the time the call was received a number of NAS emergency resources were engaged on other emergency calls and the nearest available emergency ambulance was dispatched to the incident and arrived at the scene at 12.15am.

"A second NAS resource and the emergency aeromedical service was also dispatched."

Irish Independent

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