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Ambulance service apologises after UK Sikh woman dies waiting

IANS | November 01, 2023 12:05 AM

LONDON: An ambulance service has apologised to a Sikh family for making them wait for 72 minutes for paramedics to reach a 44-year-old woman who later died from a stroke in 2022 in North of England.

Jasbir Pahal, a mother of four and a teaching assistant from Huddersfield, died after she suffered a "massive" stroke in the early hours of a Sunday morning in November 2022, the BBC reported.

Her inquest at Wakefield Coroner's Court heard last week that Satinder Pahal, Jasbir's husband, woke up in the early hours of November 13 to find his wife on the floor after she had fallen out of bed.

Recognising the signs of a stroke, Satinder quickly called for emergency assistance.

He said a first responder arrived at their home in Huddersfield 20 minutes after he dialled 999, but an ambulance and paramedics did not come for more than 70 minutes amid foggy driving conditions.

The ambulance arrival time in Jasbir's case was four times longer than target response times.

"I am so very sorry we couldn't respond any quicker to Mrs Pahal, deeply sorry, " James Goulding, a Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) clinical response and governance manager, said at the inquest hearing.

Goulding said "demand exceeded the resources available" at the time of the family's call.

Also, an air ambulance was not available at the time of the call and dispatchers were doing their "very best", according to Goulding.

He said the stroke was recorded as a Category 2 case, meaning a "potentially life-threatening emergency", with only Category 1 cases being more serious.

"Everyone sent out before were attending Category 1 or 2-level emergencies, " Goulding said, adding that "the very first chance they got, an ambulance set off to Mrs Pahal". Her family were told by Calderdale Royal Hospital staff that too much time had passed for the use of "clot buster" thrombolysis medicine, the BBC reported.

"Had I driven myself, we would have arrived in the appropriate time for thrombolysis, which would have saved her life. I have to live with this thought for the rest of my life, " Satinder's inquest statement read. Satinder's statement also accused hospital staff of leaving Jasbir to "deteriorate and die".

"The staff gave up on Jasbir, " he alleged.

Jasbir died on November 30, 2022.

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