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Ambulance delay leads to child’s death

A coroner in Manchester ruled that Clayton Baker’s chances of surviving his fatal asthma attack would have been improved if the ambulance dispatch worker had not made a mistake when logging the emergency call.
Clayton was staying at his grandmother’s house when he was finding it increasingly difficult to breathe. His grandmother called 999 and spoke to a call operator who, after working a very busy 12-hour shift, logged the wrong response on the system when she asked if he was having difficulty speaking. As a result, the emergency call made by Clayton’s grandmother was coded as green and not red, and the ambulance was sent to another emergency call instead.
The 999 call made by Clayton’s grandmother was logged at 7.17pm and arriving on scene at 7.40pm, taking 23 minutes between the call and the arrival of the ambulance. The inquest revealed that had the call been correctly coded as red and not green, the ambulance would have arrived about 7.27pm, a delay of only ten minutes between the 999 call and arrival.
Clayton collapsed at 7.32pm, which, had the call been coded correctly, the ambulance would have been on scene for five minutes already. As it was, the ambulance did not arrive until eight minutes after his collapse.
The North West Ambulance Service acknowledged that a mistake had been made in the call centre and that this mistake resulted in the delay in the dispatch of an ambulance which may have given Clayton an increased chance of survival and that as a result, they would be reviewing their procedures within their control room.
Following the coroner’s findings, Clayton Baker’s family is pursuing a medical negligence claim against the North West Ambulance Service.
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