“Dad might have survived.” Grieving family’s ambulance wait fury

Yvonne Charlton, 44 with her two daughters, Leanne, 24 and Carly, 22. The family have been trying to come to terms with the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Kevin, much-missed husband and father.
Yvonne Charlton, 44 with her two daughters, Leanne, 24 and Carly, 22. The family have been trying to come to terms with the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Kevin, much-missed husband and father.
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A DAUGHTER fought to save her dad’s life after an ambulance took more than 30 minutes to respond to three desperate 999 calls.

Sadly, Carly Charlton’s dad Kevin failed to survive, dying 10 days later in hospital.

Today, the family demanded to know why it took three calls and repeated cries for help before paramedics turned up at their Wearside home.

Carly told the Echo: “If they’d come straight away dad might have survived.

“But by the time I made the third phone call he’d stopped breathing.”

Yvonne Charlton first became concerned about husband Kevin, 44, after he developed breathing problems at the family’s home in Glebe, Washington.

The 45-year-old called Carly who, living just a street away, rushed round.

“Dad’s had a lot of problems with diabetes but I knew he was in a really bad way,” said Carly, 22.

“It was 7.30am and I got quickly on the phone and called 999 and told them dad was having breathing problems.

“They said they were sending an ambulance straight away.”

But as the minutes went by, Kevin’s breathing became progressively worse and Yvonne, Carly, and sister Leanne, 24, became increasingly worried. Another 999 call was made and Carly was told the ambulance was stuck in traffic.,

“By the third phone call, he wasn’t breathing,” added Carly. “My sister started performing chest compressions while I spoke to the operator.

“When the ambulance finally did arrive, more than 30 minutes later, two turned up at once.”

Paramedics worked to get Kevin breathing again before he was taken to Gateshead’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

But the dad-of-four, who had been married to Yvonne for 27 years, never regained consciousness.

Carly said: “The doctor told us he had gone 27 minutes without breathing, without any oxygen getting to his brain.

“I can’t help but think what might have happened had the ambulance arrived earlier. We’ve all been left devastated by dad’s death.

“Mum just celebrated her 45th birthday this week, without the man she’s been married to for 27 years.”

Kevin died on March 17. He leaves behind Yvonne, Carly, Leanne, Emma, 26, and Amy, 19.

North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) said: “We are sorry for the Charlton family’s loss, and our sympathy is with them at this difficult time.

“We are investigating the circumstances of the call taken, and once we have done this we will be liaising with the family.”

Guidelines say an emergency response will reach 75 per cent of immediately life threatening calls within eight minutes. Where onward transport is required, 95 per cent calls will receive an ambulance vehicle within 19 minutes of the request.

NEAS has come in for criticism. Last month, Sunderland coroner Derek Winter was to write to the Health Secretary expressing concerns that ambulance delays “may lead to fatalities” after a pensioner waited almost five hours for one.

Great-grandmother Florence Taylor, 81, had been taken ill at home in Duke Street, Millfield, on December 17, and a 999 call made at 4.21pm. But an ambulance did not arrive to take her to Sunderland Royal until just before 9pm.

At the inquest, Douglas McDougal of NEAS said hospitals had been struggling to cope with patient numbers, causing delays in ambulance turnaround times and putting severe strain on the system.