Baby girl died after ambulance got LOST on the way to her house

May 2, 2013 | by | 0 Comments
Amy Carter, 24, with her daughter Bella, who died after disgracefully inadequate NHS paramedics got lost on the way to her home and then joked as the tot lay unresponsive

Amy Carter, 24, with her daughter Bella, who died after disgracefully inadequate NHS paramedics got lost on the way to her home and then joked as the tot lay unresponsive

A baby girl died after an ambulance took three times the standard time to reach her – and then took the wrong road to hospital.

Desperate Amy Carter called 999 when her three month-old daughter Bella suffered a fit and stopped breathing.

But instead of reaching her home within the recommended eight minutes the crew failed to arrive for 26 minutes – leaving her frantically trying to revive her alone.

Amy, 24, said when they finally turned up they then JOKED about problems with their knees as they bent down to treat the stricken tot.

And instead of comforting terror-struck Amy she said they talked about what they did at the weekend.

The ambulance driver – on her first-ever shift as a paramedic – then took a wrong turning on the way to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

She went round a roundabout on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds TWICE before taking the longer route to A&E with Amy shouting directions.

By the time they arrived at hospital Bella had not been breathing for nearly an hour and there was nothing doctors could do to save her.

The youngster’s death is one of five the East of England Ambulance Service Trust are currently facing questions over.

Trust bosses have met Amy and her partner Scott Hellings, 24, and admitted failings over the case of their little girl.

Amy had called an ambulance twice before to her home in Thetford, Norfolk in the fortnight before Bella died when she had breathing problems.

On the first time the crew arrived in just two minutes and Amy and paramedics managed to revive her.

The second incident was more serious and after the ambulance arrived promptly Bella was taken to hospital.

Amy, also mum to son Ryan, four, said: “The people who are meant to help failed Bella. If they had got to her in time she would be alive today.

“What is so frustrating is that I had seen them save her before.

“I live on a new development, but I gave the operator clear instructions. It is not hard to find – and they had managed it twice before.

“I told them all the doors were open, but the paramedics just kept ringing and ringing on the bell.

“I didn’t want to leave Bella, but I knew I shouldn’t move her so I had to abandon her and run down and back up two flights of stairs to let them in.

“I think the paramedics knew when they arrived at the house that Bella had gone.

“But instead of comforting me they just talked about what they did at the weekend. And they complained about their knees and being old when they knelt down on the floor.

“I don’t think they knew how to deal with me.”

She added: “They had a sat-nav, but it was taking them the long way round. Anyone who knows the area would know to go on the bypass.

“I was shouting directions at her, but it was like I wasn’t even there.

“I do not think it was the driver’s fault. She should have been given more support – she was on her first shift. It is a problem with the trust.

“I think what happened is down to a lack of communication between the control room and the paramedics.”

An inquest has been opened and adjourned into Bella’s death and Amy’s local MP is demanding answers from the ambulance trust.

Elizabeth Truss, the Conservative member for South Norfolk, said: “This is incredibly sad and my thoughts are very much with the parents.

“The 999 call from the mother surely must have made this a priority case and for the ambulance to take so long to arrive is of serious concern.

“There are a number of unanswered questions and I expect the EEAST to be investigating this as a matter of urgency.”

Amy added: “Nothing is going to bring Bella back. We just don’t want this to ever happen again.

“I would not wish this pain on my worst enemy. Two of my family members have just had babies and I have not been able to go and see them. That is the hardest thing.

“I don’t know how my family are going to get back to normality or how we will fill the space in our lives.

“It is wrong that people have to die before they do anything about it.

“I hope the coroner does a full investigation and says that more money needs to be put into the system to get more people out there.

“I don’t want this issue to be swept under the carpet.”

The family’s solicitor Sharon Allison said the case highlighted the risk of cutting front-line services.

Mrs Allison, a medical negligence specialist, said: “It’s impossible to imagine the terror and anguish of Bella’s parents as they went through delay after delay in trying to get urgent treatment for their baby.

“It’s every parent’s nightmare. Amy and her partner are still in shock and the grief is still very raw, but they are desperate to find out how their child’s death could have happened.

“Whatever the outcome of the inquest, we know that the ambulance service has admitted to five deaths in one month after delays were recorded.

“Though that statistic is truly shocking, we can at least applaud what seems to be a change of attitude.”

The ambulance trust, which has received a 71% rise in annual complaints, refused to comment on individual cases.

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