An older Queensland man who fell in his home has died due to paramedic delays, his family has said.
On Saturday afternoon, the man fell for the second time in 24 hours in his Hervey Bay home, leaving him wedged on his walker.
His older wife was unable to help her husband up from his walker and rang triple-0 three times, telling them her husband couldn’t breathe.
It is believed the initial call was considered a “Code 2” — which can range from requiring an immediate urgent response to paramedics arriving within 60 minutes based on the scale of the injury – but was upgraded to “priority” status after the follow-up call.
The man’s death is the third in less than a month that has been linked to Queensland’s strained ambulance and health system. It follows the death of Cath Groom, 51, who died in early November after an ambulance failed to arrive at her Brisbane home despite multiple calls, and Wayne Irving, 67, who died in the back of an ambulance waiting for a hospital bed.
A Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) spokesperson said it has communicated with the man’s family and informed them that a full review of the weekend incident will be carried out with oversight from the organisation’s medical director. They also confirmed there were no ambulances ramped at Hervey Bay Hospital at the time of the call.
“The Queensland Ambulance Service’s thoughts and condolences go out to the gentleman’s family and friends,” they told The Courier Mail.
A Spokeswoman for Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service (WBHHS) confirmed the Hervey Bay Emergency Department (ED) experienced an “extremely busy weekend”, with data showing 371 people presented to the ED between Friday and Sunday — 130 of whom came via ambulance.
The Spokeswoman also told The Courier Mail that WBHHS works with QAS on different strategies to get ambulances back in the community as soon as possible, especially for urgent cases, and that those strategies were implemented over the weekend.