Search

West Hampstead stroke victim waits 3 hours for an ambulance

12:53 26 April 2012

Kate and John O'Shea at the Royal Free Hospital. Picture Polly Hancock

Kate and John O'Shea at the Royal Free Hospital. Picture Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

A 79-year-old man was left in agonising pain as he suffered a stroke that partially blinded him while he waited hours for an ambulance to arrive.

The wife of stroke victim John O’Shea could only watch helplessly as he writhed in pain while blood poured from his right eye at their bungalow in Brassey Road, West Hampstead.

Retired nurse Kate O’Shea, 74, has written to health secretary Andrew Lansley railing at the lack of resources that left her husband without medical attention for three hours.

She said: “We have relied on the NHS and we’ve been very appreciative of it, but this situation where the budget has been cut across every aspect of the NHS is just unbearable.

“The ambulance people told me ‘It’s not only happening to you but lots of people and we just don’t know what to do - we’re trying to figure out who we have to take and who to say no to’. That’s a terrible situation.”

On Easter Monday at 2am retired dental technician Mr O’Shea woke up suffering a piercing pain in his head and 20 minutes later he lost the sight from his eye.

Fearing he had a brain tumour, his wife contacted the out of hours GP service but was told to ring 999.

Despite placing an emergency call at 2.02am the couple was forced to endure an excruciating wait as operators told them an ambulance had been diverted to a life-threatening situation.

Mrs O’Shea, who uses a wheelchair because of rheumatoid arthritis, said: “I was just so upset by the extent of his pain. He was clutching his head, saying ‘I can’t stand it, I can’t stand it’.”

An ambulance finally arrived between 5.15am and 5.30am and took Mr O’Shea to the Royal Free Hospital, where it was confirmed he had suffered a mini-stroke caused by a brain haemorrhage.

His memory and sight have both been affected and he is not expected to return home for at least two months.

Although consultants confirmed that the type of stroke Mr O’Shea suffered was not worsened by the delay in the ambulance arriving, his wife said the extent of the pain he suffered without treatment was unacceptable.

A spokeswoman for the London Ambulance Service (LAS) claimed that an ambulance reached the scene at 4.46am.

She said: “Our call taker was able to confirm that the patient was conscious and alert, but unfortunately we were not able to attend immediately.

“We would like to apologise for the delay in reaching the patient, and for any distress caused to him or his family.”

LAS invited the O’Sheas to contact the patient experiences department on 020 3069 0240.

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

A Henrietta Barnett consultation has sparked debate on whether the famous grammar school should give priority to Hampstead Garden Suburb pupils

17:29

A Camden police officer has been sacked for dishonesty.

15:52

Emergency services have rescued a woman trapped under a Porsche after it crashed into a cafe in West End Lane in West Hampstead.

Yesterday, 18:06

Virginia McKenna, actress and founder of the Born Free wildlife charity, is the latest to sign a 4,500-strong petition to create a haven for swans on the island on Hampstead Heath’s model boating pond.

Yesterday, 15:13

Camden Council’s leader has said the prime minister’s commitment to removing the UK from the EU’s single market is “deeply concerning” – and pledged to push for the “greatest possible access”.

Yesterday, 12:48

A plan to resurrect the Old White Bear pub in Hampstead by sharing its upper floors with a school has been given the go-ahead.

Yesterday, 11:47

Work will begin to replace gas mains in Gospel Oak after a public outcry forced its delay last year.

Yesterday, 11:16

A man died after being hit by a train in King’s Cross station yesterday.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now