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Family to complain after pensioner died following 999 delay

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: February 06, 2014

By Robin Scott

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THE family of a man who died following a heart attack are to launch a complaint - after ambulance crews took more than 20 minutes to reach him.

Two darts players battled to save Albert Bowen's life when he fell ill at The White Eagle Club in Stafford - while a barmaid pleaded with 999 services to hurry.

Mr Bowen, 72, collapsed at the community club on Riverway last Wednesday evening and was taken by ambulance to University Hospital of North Staffordshire where he remained on life support before his death the following day.

Ivor Robinson, 63, of Corporation Street, a committee member at the White Eagle Club, said he had seen Mr Bowen talking with another member when he arrived at the club, the venue of a darts match against rival pub Luck Penny.

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"Albert was busy chatting away," said Mr Robinson. "Then I looked around and his face had gone blank, he tipped his head back and then tipped it forward again."

Mr Robinson asked Mr Bowen if he was diabetic and went to get some chocolate from behind the bar.

"He perked up for a bit, but then his lips went blue I just said ring an ambulance straight away.

Mr Robinson said barmaid Louise Unwin had called 999, remaining on the phone relaying information until they arrived.

"She was asking: 'Where are you?. When are you getting here?' and not getting any answers," said Mr Robinson.

The ambulance arrived shortly before 10.15pm - 21 minutes after it was called. A second crew arrived three minutes later.

Mr Bowen was treated by paramedics before being driven to University Hospital of North Staffordshire where he arrived at 10.59pm.

A statement from Mr Bowen's daughters said: "It is upsetting that it took as long as it did for West Midlands Ambulance Service to get to him We can't fault the care our father received at UHNS, but we can't help wondering if he had been taken five minutes down the road to Stafford Hospital whether the outcome might have been different.

"We will never know. That is a question we will be asking ourselves for the rest of our lives." They said they would be lodging a complaint with the ambulance service.

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service apologised for not having responded to the call more quickly.

"We are sorry it did take longer than we would have liked as we were already dealing with many other local incidents. Unfortunately, it is simply not possible to get to every red call within eight minutes."

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