Woman dies of heart attack waiting for ambulance in WA

An incident involving a Geraldton grandmother, who died waiting 32 minutes in cardiac arrest, has raised the alarm over Western Australia’s paramedic staffing crisis.

When the first triple zero call was made at about 2.30pm, there were two regional crews on shift who were busy with other jobs.

At 2.34pm, the St John’s call centre put out an alert asking if any off-duty volunteers or paramedics could help.

A woman has died from a heart attack after waiting more than 30 minutes for an ambulance in Western Australia. (Nine)

Three minutes later, a crew in between night shifts offered to work overtime, but management said no.

The decision has sparked speculation as the state grapples with a system under immense pressure.

St John WA chief executive Michelle Fyfe told the press the decision wasn’t spurred by budget concerns, and instead was regarding response time.

“It is unlikely that a returning crew would’ve made it to this job any quicker than the crew returning from the hospital,” she said.

Michelle Fyfe, St John WA Chief
Michelle Fyfe, St John WA Chief (9News)

An ambulance eventually responded to the woman’s calls for help, only she’d stopped breathing – after three triple zero calls by relatives.

New data shows one in five ambulances took longer than the benchmark 15 minutes to respond to priority calls last month.

Over the past five years, Geraldton has had a 20 per cent increase in ambulance demand – but staffing levels are yet to increase.

The grandmother’s death was on the same day a 75-year-old woman died from a suspected heart attack while ramped for three hours at Busselton Health Campus.

Reference-www.9news.com.au

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