Mother suffers sudden heart attack and ambulance didn’t turn up - before she waited five hours in A&E

9 February 2024, 16:36 | Updated: 9 February 2024, 17:25

Kerry Pentecost had to wait for five hours in A&E after an ambulance failed to turn up when she had a heart attack.
Kerry Pentecost had to wait for five hours in A&E after an ambulance failed to turn up when she had a heart attack. Picture: Supplied

By Jenny Medlicott

A woman who suffered a sudden heart attack says she had to wait five hours in A&E after an ambulance failed to show up.

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Kerry Pentecost, aged 49 at the time, started to feel unwell while at her home in Farnham on September 6 last year.

At around 9pm the same evening, she suddenly collapsed on a sofa and stopped breathing.

Her husband called 999 having suspected she was suffering from a heart attack when he was instructed to perform CPR before an ambulance was dispatched - except the ambulance never turned up.

Speaking to LBC’s Shelagh Fogarty, Ms Pentecost said: “My husband suspected a heart attack, called 999 and I wasn’t breathing and they instructed him to lift me onto a hard surface onto the floor and talked him through CPR.

“Then I woke up after two or three minutes and they told us that an ambulance was on the way.”

Still in shock, Ms Pentecost and her husband called her sister and brother-in-law over to take care of their children for when the ambulance finally arrived.

But around 30-40 minutes after they were told the ambulance was on the way, it still hadn't arrived.

She continued: “The ambulance didn’t arrive and when my husband called to ask where it was, they said that it hadn’t been dispatched and it wasn’t on its way.”

Read more: Mother, 39, collapsed under her coat and died after seven-hour wait at crowded A&E

Read more: Ambulances unable to attend 1 in 6 call-outs due to handover delays - with crews spending 'entire shifts' outside A&E

'I'd had a heart attack, they had to talk my husband through CPR... and the ambulance never arrived', says caller Kerry

After 999 confirmed an ambulance wasn't on its way, Ms Pentecost turned to A&E at Frimley Health NHS Trust instead.

“The ambulance didn’t come and basically my brother-in-law and my sister arrived to look after the children and he took me to A&E where I waited five hours,” she continued.

“It was a terrible experience”.

“I’m a very healthy person, no history of heart issues, [it was] completely out of the blue. It was caused by something called scad, we now know, which is a spontaneous tear in an artery.

“I exercise regularly, there’s nothing in my family history, a complete bolt out of the blue”.

Frimley Health Trust has been approached for comment.

It comes after it was revealed to LBC that a 39-year-old woman who died after suffering a fatal brain haemorrhage had been waiting for at least seven hours at A&E before she was discovered under a coat.

Staff at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham said they believe the long waiting times at the department may have contributed to her death.

A hospital spokesman said they have launched an internal investigation into the woman's death.

New figures released on Thursday show the extent of pressure on A&E departments in the UK, with the data showing that the number of patients waiting for more than 12 hours in England rose by almost 25% in January.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been approached for comment.

Dr Keith Girling, Medical Director at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “I offer my sincere condolences to the family at this difficult time. “An investigation, which will involve the family, will now take place and until this has been concluded, we are unable to comment further.”

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