AN investigation is underway into why it took so long to move a dying man from Sunderland Royal Hospital to a critical care unit in Newcastle.
The family of Dean McMahon claim it took more than 90 minutes to transfer the 33-year-old between hospitals as he desperately fought for life.
Dean was discovered with massive head injuries at the rear of Carlisle Terrace in Southwick, Sunderland, on Tuesday, February 4.
It was first thought he had been the victim of an attack, but it was later suggested he had fallen, hitting his head.
After he was discovered at about 10.30am, Dean was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital where he was put into a medically-induced coma before being transferred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Now Dean’s family have been told it took in excess of 1hr 30 minutes to make the 13.9mile journey.
Mum Sharon, 50, of Fulwell, said: “I got to Sunderland Royal Hospital about 15 minutes after Dean arrived.
“They told me I couldn’t see him because they were getting ready to put him into the ambulance.”
Relatives have since told Sharon, who remembers little about the day, that she then demanded to see her son.
She added: “I have seen a pathology report which suggests the ambulance had to stop on its way to Newcastle in order to resuscitate Dean but that still doesn’t explain why it took so long.”
North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) bosses said they were investigating.
A spokesman for the Service said: “We are currently carrying out a detailed investigation into the circumstances surrounding this case. Until our final report is complete, it would be inappropriate to discuss the matter further in public.”
The McMahon family say this is the latest in a long line of unanswered questions surrounding Dean’s death.
Two men with Dean in the time leading up to when he sustained his injuries were later arrested. They remain on bail after they voluntarily attended a police station.
Sharon added: “Dean was in a house just before this happened and people have been telling us he fell in the house, while the police think he fell outside in the lane.
“Something is not right, and we just want some answers.”
The family, including Dean’s three sisters and four brothers, say they are struggling to come to terms with his death.
Dean, a former pupil of Southwick Primary School, had grown up in the area but had battled drug and alcohol problems for a number of years prior to his death.