DELAY?: Andrew Gee wants answers for the family of a man who died of cardiac arrest while waiting for an ambulance.MEMBER for Orange Andrew Gee has asked NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner and Premier Mike Baird for a full briefing on the death of an 81-year-old Canowindra man on Saturday night who went into a cardiac arrest following a fall and died before the ambulance arrived.
“This is an extremely serious matter and I want to be able to provide answers for the Cowra community,” Mr Gee said.
“Has the family of the deceased resident of Canowindra been contacted and given a full explanation, as after all they are reading about this in the newspaper and hearing it on the radio today,” Mr Gee said.
“If they haven’t been contacted, they should be at the earliest opportunity.”
Mr Gee also said if there was a staffing shortage at Canowindra on Saturday night he wants to know what measures were put in place to ensure Canowindra could be reached in an emergency and also whether staffing levels at Canowindra on Saturday night had any bearing on the initial grading of the case as 1B (second most urgent) response.
A NSW Ambulance spokesperson said on Tuesday a triple zero call was received on Saturday night at 6.24pm.
“Based on the information given by the caller it was assessed as a category 1B, requiring an ambulance response with lights and siren,” the ambulance spokesman said.
“At 6.31pm the case was upgraded to a category A emergency based on new information which had suggested the patient had gone into cardiac arrest.
“The triple zero call taker gave instructions on how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, however the caller was unable to begin CPR as they could not reach or lift the patient and when the ambulance arrived at 6.43pm the patient was deceased.”
Health Services Union secretary Gerard Hayes says not only is there a shortage of paramedics in the Central West, police are finding themselves first responders providing resuscitation and first aid for lengthy periods of time until ambulances arrive.
“The HSU is meeting with the NSW Police Association today about that very issue – it is just simply unacceptable,” Mr Hayes said.
“Smaller places around Orange such as Canowindra may have their own station, but in fact there may be no paramedics available.
Mr Hayes said he is also currently investigating reports that police last Friday had to provide resuscitation and first aid to a man at Blayney as no ambulance was available.
In August the Central Western Daily reported on two instances on the same night where long ambulance delays were experienced in relation to two men, one with a fractured skull and the other with a serious head injury after police gave evidence in Orange District Court they had to wait 40 minutes for an ambulance for the first man with the fractured skull and an hour for the second man, who police later drove to the hospital themselves.
A NSW Ambulance spokesperson responded to that story saying Orange and district residents were appropriately treated within adequate time-frames on the night.
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