Family of man who bled to death while waiting for ambulance say they've still had no apology letter three years on
The family of a man who died after waiting an hour for treatment following a fall in his own home say they still haven’t received a written apology from emergency services.
James Quinn, who was known as Jimmy, was bleeding out for an hour waiting for paramedics and later died of severe blood loss and
He had suffered serious injuries to his right arm after falling into a glass cabinet in his Washington home.
In December 2018, an inquest into his death found the 61-year-old might have survived had it not been for a ‘fatally flawed’ response by emergency services.
But more than three years since Mr Quinn’s death in July 2016, his family say they feel they have let him down and claim they still haven’t received an apology from either the police or ambulance service.
And a request for a ‘goodwill gesture’ of £5,000 has also been denied - money which would have been used to get Mr Quinn a headstone so his ashes could be buried.
Following the inquest, a coroner found a 999 call by the stricken 61-year-old led to a catalogue of errors and a communication breakdown which meant he died from what a coroner described as “potentially survivable” injuries.
Mr Quinn’s sister, Joanne Quinn, said: “We've never had a proper apology. They’re both still denying liability for Jimmy’s death.
“Our solicitor had put in for a goodwill gesture of £5,000 for me and my brother and his partner. But they wrote back to say they denied liability.
“We haven’t even had a letter of apology.
“It’s just awful the way Jimmy was treated. They just don’t seem to care.
“We feel as though we’re letting him down. Nobody deserves the way he was treated that night. It's awful to think he could still be here.”
The family are still struggling to come to terms with Jimmy’s death.
Joanne said: “He was one of the nicest people you could meet, always smiling.
“His friends still come up to me and say how much they miss him, we all do.
“We just can't come to terms with the way he died from the injury.”
She says the money requested would have gone towards paying for his funeral and buying a headstone so his ashes can be buried.
In December 2018, an inquest into Mr Quinn’s death heard that he initially called the ambulance service at 7.05pm but paramedics didn’t reach him until an hour later after 8pm.
This was due to mistakes by both the North East Ambulance Service – who first failed to categorise the call correctly – and Northumbria Police who delayed the decision to attend following a request by ambulance service who needed assistance to gain entry to Mr Quinn’s home in Washington.
The inquest heard evidence from Dr Peter Goode, consultant in accident and emergency medicine, who concluded Mr Quinn’s injuries would have been survivable with prompt assessment and treatment up to 7.45pm that evening - more than 40 minutes after the fall.
But officers did not arrive to break into the home until 7.56pm - 20 minutes after the incident was sent to the control room.
Paramedics gained entry just after 8pm but by this time Mr Quinn’s injuries had become fatal and he later died in hospital.
Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt, of Northumbria Police, said: “Our thoughts continue to be with the family and friends of James Quinn at this extremely difficult time.
“The inquest into Mr Quinn’s tragic death clearly raised learning points for both Northumbria Police and North East Ambulance Service.
“I would like to give assurances that steps have already been taken to address the issues which led to the delay in treatment being administered. This includes new procedures with the relevant agencies around gaining access to properties when someone requires medical assistance.
“The Force also referred a complaint about the incident to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and while its investigation concluded there was no case to answer for misconduct, failings were identified which we have addressed.”
A spokesman for the North East Ambulance Service said: “We are sorry for what happened. This was a tragic case and we continue to offer our condolences to the family.
“A family liaison officer offered our condolences and apologised to the family at the time and a formal apology was also made during the coroner’s hearing.
“We carried out our own investigation of the circumstances involving Mr Quinn’s care and reported the incident to the wider NHS system and have implemented a number actions to address the issues highlighted by our investigation.”