A 47-year-old man has died while waiting more than 40 minutes for an ambulance in Adelaide.
Most important points:
- A man called triple zero while in chest pain, but the ambulance arrived half an hour later
- He died of cardiac arrest
- SA Prime Minister describes death as ‘tragic’
The man, who was experiencing chest pain, called triple zero on Monday at 5:19 p.m. after stopping on Anzac Highway in Plympton.
The state’s Ambulance Employees Association said 35 minutes later, bystanders noticed the man was unresponsive and began performing CPR.
The union said the case was being upgraded to a priority and the first paramedic arrived at 6:01 p.m., 42 minutes after the first triple zero call.
The patient could no longer be resuscitated.
The SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) has been contacted for comment and is expected to release a statement on the matter.
The union said at the time of the case that the SAAS had declared an “Opstat White” – with 20 urgent cases brought to light in the metropolitan area.
It said ambulance crews had been stationed at the Royal Adelaide Hospital for three hours and at Flinders Medical Center for six hours.
Witness Chady Hamra was working across the street when he saw that the man went into cardiac arrest.
“We couldn’t really see what was happening… we could see people standing around someone,” Mr Hamra said.
“I think something needs to be done about it, someone’s life has just been taken.
“It’s pretty tragic to wait so long, and it’s not far” [ambulance units] from here.
“We’re not in the country, we’re in the city… you’d expect in five or ten minutes.
“It was horrible. My wife was in tears when we heard it.”
Prime Minister: Death is ‘more than tragic’
SA Prime Minister Peter Malinauskas said the circumstances of the case were “beyond tragic” and an investigation would be launched.
“A man, a relatively young man, has died tragically under preventable circumstances,” Malinauskas said.
“I think every South Australian knows that my government has made it clear that dealing with ambulance disasters, which affects ambulance response times, is a priority of ours, which is why we are literally ramping up resources right now within the ambulance service so that they don’t waste their time and spend their time responding to calls as quickly as possible.
“We’ve seen ambulance response times collapse over the last four years. Much of that was a function of ramping, so we have a policy to reduce ramping.”