Richard Brown, 55, died inside his tenement building in Glasgow’s Hathaway Lane, where he was found by one of his traumatised neighbours who made repeated calls for an ambulance
Image: Ross Turpie)
A man died alone on the stairs inside his building after waiting five hours for an ambulance which never arrived.
Richard Brown, 55, died inside his tenement building in Glasgow’s Hathaway Lane, where he was found by one of his traumatised neighbours.
A neighbour described how they made repeated calls to the ambulance service for help after finding Mr Brown on the stairs, reports the Daily Record.
The pensioner, who does not wish to be named, said he called the ambulance several times last Saturday evening as he awaited the arrival of paramedics. But they arrived too late to save Richard’s life.
The neighbour said: “I was coming home from shopping when I saw him sitting on the stairs.
“He looked as if he was trying to go out but didn’t make it.
“He was making noises and trying to breathe but his breathing seemed laboured.
“I asked him a couple of times if he was ok but he didn’t hear me. He didn’t reply.
“I went up to my house and phoned an ambulance. They said they would send one.
“I kept checking up on him to see if he was alright.
“He stays across from me but I didn’t know him very well, just to say hello to if we met in the lane.
“The last time I went down was about five hours after I called the ambulance.
“I noticed his ears were white so I knew something was wrong. I went round and looked at his face and saw he wasn’t breathing.
“I went back upstairs and called the ambulance again.”
But there, on the stairs between the first and second floors of the tenement, Richard Brown died still waiting on an ambulance – just a few flights of stairs away from his third floor home.
His neighbour was asked to start doing chest compressions but as he prepared to do so an ambulance crew finally arrived.
He continued: “They took over. They used some equipment to check for a pulse and pronounced him dead within minutes.
“It was obviously very upsetting.”
The shocked pensioner remarked: “I knew there were problems with the ambulance service but I didn’t know it was as bad as that.
“I have been wondering what would have happened if the ambulance had turned up. They may have been able to save his life.
“It will take me a while to get over it. I think about it every time I come upstairs.”
Scottish Secretary of trade union Unite, Pat Rafferty, said: “This is a truly heartbreaking story of a man who has lost his life in the most tragic and totally avoidable circumstances if, as we understand, there were crystal clear indicators that the patient should have been treated as an emergency priority.
“There must be an immediate investigation as to why this man was allowed to fall through the Scottish Ambulance Service triage system which codes 999 calls for emergency response.”
Labour’s health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said Mr Brown’s treatment was “inhumane”.
She said: “This is an absolutely shocking and devastating story.
“The ambulance service and the A&E crisis continues unabated and the Scottish Government are posted missing while lives are actually being lost.”
And Baillie said she also felt sympathy for the man who “tried his best to help his neighbour”.
A spokesman from the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We would like to extend our sincere apologies and condolences to Mr Brown’s family at this extremely distressing time.
“We are very sorry for their loss.
“An investigation into the circumstances relating to the delay in reaching Mr Brown has been launched and all findings and lessons learned will be shared with Mr Brown’s family as part of this process.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson sent the Government’s “sincere condolences to Mr Brown’s family, friends and neighbours”.
He added: “The ambulance service are rightly investigating all the details of this distressing incident and will share the findings and lessons with Mr Brown’s family.