Louth family demand answers after pensioner was left waiting for ambulance for over three hours and died 12 days later

Barry Andrews' daughter Tracy Johnson and wife Floss want answers after a three-hour ambulance wait.
Barry Andrews' daughter Tracy Johnson and wife Floss want answers after a three-hour ambulance wait.

A family are demanding answers after a Louth pensioner was left waiting for over three hours for an ambulance, and died 12 days later.

Cancer patient Barry Andrews, 66, was left lying on a cold porch floor for 185 minutes after a fall at his home in Lacey Gardens on Easter Sunday.

He sadly died on April 12, and his family are demanding to know why, as they claim, their initial 999 call was downgraded and cancelled by East Midlands Ambulance Service.

Although there is no suggestion the delayed call was responsible for Barry’s death, his daughter Tracy Johnson said he was left ‘traumatised’ .

“I have no faith in EMAS anymore,” said Tracy.

“We need answers for our closure, the whole system has let us down dreadfully.”

EMAS said there was ‘significant demand’ for ambulances on the night but insisted no calls had been downgraded or cancelled.

Mr Andrews had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in November 2011, only months after retiring from his job at DS Smith Packaging in Louth.

His wife Floss called 999 at 7.25pm after he fell, and called again at 8.06pm when there was no sign of the ambulance.

She claims she was told the call had been downgraded and cancelled but was assured an ambulance would then be sent to her husband’s aid.

She said EMAS then called at 8.45pm to confirm an ambulance was on its way, but it did not turn up until 10.30pm.

Barry was assessed by paramedics who said no hospital treatment was needed.

But Barry’s health took a turn for the worse. He was taken into St Barnabas Hospice in Lincoln five days later, and sadly died on April 12.

“It’s floored us, it’s such a mess,” said a distraught Tracy.

“Because he was treated so badly it’s not enabled us to move forward yet, I’m having the most horrific nightmares.

“As far as we knew Dad had five to ten years left to live at the time of the fall. When we were told he was deteriorating it was devastating,” Tracy said.

“People’s lives are being put at risk, I hope to God I never have to call for an ambulance because I don’t trust that one will come.”

Mr Andrews’ wife Floss said the ‘dreadful’ night brought back painful memories of 10 years ago, when her mother was waiting five hours for an ambulance after a fall.

The mother and daughter also want to know why no first responders were scrambled to the house on Easter Sunday, but EMAS said responders are not trained to deal with falls.

“When paramedics arrived they were horrified, they had been told it was a 66-year-old man who was sick.” Tracy said.

Mrs Johnson said although there was no clear link between the ambulance delay and her father’s death, she said the events of the night of August 31 ‘certainly didn’t help’.

“The fact he was lying there for three hours caused so much distress,” she said.

“He was just in a state, and he was so traumatised by it all. He never attempted to walk again for fear of another fall.

“He had worked hard all his life and was looking forward to his retirement.”

Richard Henderson, East Midlands Ambulance Service’s divisional director for Lincolnshire, said in a statement: “Significant demand on our service meant we were not able to get to Mr Andrews as quickly as we wanted to.

“The first call was categorised as not immediately life-threatening or serious, requiring a telephone assessment from one of our clinicians. Subsequent calls were upgraded to request a face-to-face ambulance response; the calls were not downgraded or cancelled.

“Unfortunately for Mr Andrews, people whose life was reported to be at immediate risk were responded to as priority.

“Our ambulance crew assessed Mr Andrews who had fallen at home; he requested that he be left there and did not travel to hospital.

“We are sorry for the anxiety the delay in our response caused Mr Andrews and his family. They tell us Mr Andrews passed away 12 days later and we offer our sincere condolences to them.”