Aug 10, 2021

“Where were you?”: Woman dies after waiting more than nine hours for ambulance

QLD ambo 1A
Judith Hamilton, who sadly passed away. Photo: 9News.

Two months ago, Ruth Hopkins called an ambulance for her sister, Judith Hamilton, at 2am. Hamilton was in severe pain, but after a further three calls, the ambulance still hadn’t arrived. 

At 9am the following morning, Hamilton’s GP rang with worrying blood test results and said to call an ambulance immediately.

Hopkins assured him she already had, 9News has reported.

In the end, it took nine-and-a-half hours for an ambulance to arrive. But tragically, 10 minutes after paramedics arrived, Hamilton died.

Hamilton’s daughter, Alyssa Broughton, arrived just as her mother passed away.

Judith Hamilton’s daughter, Alyssa Broughton (left), and her sister, Ruth Hopkins. Photo: 9News.

Queensland Ambulance Service met with the family and apologised, saying the delay was caused by staff shortages and delays at the hospital. They said Hamilton’s case should have been made a higher priority.

The apology was “a step in the right direction,” Broughton said, but she added, “It is a bit too late.”

“It isn’t good enough,” she said. “I’ve lost my mum.”

“There’s not a doubt in our minds that mum would still be with us here today if the ambulance had arrived when it was supposed to.”

Hamilton’s death is the latest in a series associated with ambulance delays and ramping outside Queensland hospitals.

Hamilton’s case is under investigation by the Queensland government.

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  1. The paramedic boys and girls are marvellous. I have been to hospitals many times and seen the paramedics lined up in the hospital hallways waiting to hand over their patients.
    I don’t have a solution but it’s clear that a new approach is needed

  2. This will likely occur more often with 000 (Triple Zero) introducing new rules recently that all Ambulance calls must be triaged prior to sending a vehicle to assist.
    Last week our RN made an urgent call for a resident in our aged care facility to be transferred to hospital – as per their GP, and were told that the ambulance would be at least one hour, as their call wasn’t considered “urgent enough”.
    Every question under the sun was asked including many that were not at all relevant to the reason the ambulance was being summoned.
    This is not good enough and in my opinion is going to lead to more deaths like this woman’s story.

  3. Know how this family feel except in my case it was a hospital that let me down and i ended up losing my husband ,he should be alive today but he isnt

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