‘We felt we were watching him die’

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A COUPLE felt like they were watching their son die as they waited for over an hour for an ambulance to arrive at their Croxton Kerrial home.

Three-year-old Flynn Thomas was fitting and unresponsive by the time a first responder arrived, followed by an ambulance 30 minutes later.

His mum, Amy said: “The ambulance taking that amount of time is disgusting. It’s just not acceptable.

“He was so ill that I didn’t expect him to still be here, I thought he was going to die.”

She first noticed that her son was ill at around 8pm on Sunday, September 25. He had a blank expression on his face and was swallowing a lot, she said.

Amy added that he appeared to be getting better but suddenly started being sick.

She said: “He started walking as if he was drunk. He went pale and was being sick. His eyes were fixed and he wasn’t responding to anything I said.”

Amy says she rang NHS Direct but was told they were too busy to help. By 9pm she was speaking to someone on 111. They said a first responder was on the way.

Half an hour later no-one had arrived.

Amy said: “He was just lifeless with raspy breathing so I rang 999.”

Flynn’s dad Mick, who had been trying to help his son while Amy was on the phone, added: “If I could drive I would have taken him straight away. It’s not an emergency service when it takes that long to arrive.”

At 10pm the first responder turned up and agreed Flynn needed urgent hospital care. Half an hour later the ambulance, which had been sent from Leicester, arrived.

Amy said: “He was still lifeless, his breathing was shallow, he was unresponsive and he had started to fit.”

The paramedics started treating Flynn to try and stop the fits but after a discussion about which hospital to go to and following a sat nav through the villages it took another hour before the ambulance got Flynn to Lincoln County Hospital.

Amy said: “I can’t fault the paramedics. They were amazing. It’s just the amount of time it took to get here and to hospital.”

Flynn continued to worsen and was transferred to Leicester Royal Infirmary at 6.30am where gradually he started to respond to treatment. On Thursday he was released from hospital.

Amy said: “They don’t know what’s wrong with him. I’m a nervous wreck at the moment. I daren’t leave him.”

The East Midlands Ambulance Service has apologised for the delay this week, but said that crews were under a lot of pressure on this particular occasion.

A spokesman said: “Shortly after arriving, our fast response paramedic requested a back-up ambulance but at this time, we were dealing with a high volume of 999 calls which placed us under significant pressure. As a result, the nearest available vehicle had a long distance to travel before arriving at the scene at 10.42pm.

“We regret that on this occasion we were unable to send the back-up ambulance as quickly as normal, and we apologise to the patient and his family for the inconvenience and distress this caused.”