Elderly woman dies after ambulance wait

AN ELDERLY Colac woman died after paramedics took more than an hour to arrive at her house.

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One Response to “Elderly woman dies after ambulance wait”

  1. Anthony Hann

    As a recently retired MICA Paramedic in Colac, these delays to life threatening cases are not isolated, but are a common occurrence. This is also not the first death in Colac, nor will it be the last if Ambulance Management do not change their stubborn attitudes.

    Response times in Colac have failed for a number of years to meet the Required State Response times which Colac is required to meet. This has been raised on numerous cases by staff in documents obtained under Freedom Of Information (FIO). But Ambulance Management refuse to act. Ambulance staff cannot talk publicly about the situation as it is a stackable offence and so the crisis in Colac is in general being kept secret to the public. Following analysis of these FIO documents obtained, it clearly shows that the stated response times to Emergencies in just the Colac township itself (when Hospital responses for transfers are excluded), the real situation is horrific and it is a game of Russian roulette if an ambulance is available in Colac. Further examination of the FIO data showed that 1 in 4 life threatening categorised calls in the township of Colac (again removing calls to the Colac hospital for transfers) were being responded to by a Camperdown Ambulance, or in some case by a Geelong Ambulance. There are also many calls for the Colac Ambulance which patients cancel the Ambulance due to the caller being told no ambulance is available, or it will be an excessive long delay. These cases are not included in the response statistics, confirming that this situation is even worse than the Ambulances published data. Two cases where the Ambulance was called but not available include a child who fell and was unconscious due to a fractured skull, and another child with serious facial and upper body burns, both being forced to be driven to hospital by family, and later flown to Melbourne in critical condition.

    Over the last 20 months, to help resolve the issue, the Colac CFA Volunteers have undertaken training by two Colac Paramedics volunteering their time to allow CFA to respond in such cases as this cardiac arrest. The Colac CFA currently have a response time to fires of only 8 minutes, significantly less than the distorted published Colac Ambulance Response times. Each Colac Fire Engine is fitted out with life saving medical equipment including resuscitation equipment and defibrillators. Despite this significant amount of training and available equipment on all three Fire Engines, the Ambulance Service management have refused to utilise this service and offer of help, instead preferring to let the patient wait a significant amount of time. This death on Friday could well have been avoided had the Ambulance Service accepted the CFA’s offer of assistance many months ago.

    This is a shameful situation by Ambulance Management who clearly are playing games with the lives, which in this case leading ultimately to a death that could have been avoided.

    I ask that every resident write to Terry Mulder who is well aware of the situation, and demand that he act of behalf of the people he serves in Colac. This is our only hope to stop further unnecessary deaths.

    Anthony Hann
    MICA Paramedic (retired)

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