Mr and Mrs Moore lost their six-month-old son Cainan in October 2012. They have recently come forward for the first time to talk about the incident, and how they believe the ambulance services are at fault.
The couple lived 5 minutes away from New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, however when Mrs Moore called for an ambulance and told an operator that her son had stopped breathing, it arrived 20 minutes later. She believes that this delay may have contributed to the death of her son, and also blames the call centre for having inadequately trained staff, who failed to recognise the seriousness of her call.
The hospital fought for hours to save Cainan’s life, but realised there was nothing they could do. They took him off life support where he died that night with severe brain injuries caused by a prolonged lack of oxygen.
A report investigating the incident has confirmed the complaints made against the ambulance service. It found that the call centre allocated a rapid response vehicle that was 14 minutes away, when there was one free just 2 minutes from their house. The call was also not coded as Red1, the most serious category that calls for immediate response. The staff were not trained to assess babies with troubled breathing, and the call center confirmed there was a shortage of staff on the day.
Mrs Moore said the couple were “devastated” on reading the documents, and that they were even more upset because Mr Moore was a trained fire-fighter, and was fully trained in CPR. Although he was on the other side of the city, she believes he could have got to them faster than the ambulance did, and therefore they may have had a chance at saving their sons life. She continued by saying they are now forced to live with this knowledge every day.
The West Midlands Ambulance Service has reportedly made steps to make improvements as a result of the incident, such as new training guidelines being drawn up in order to ensure emergency calls are applied correctly, and operators have all the information they need, particularly with regards to abnormal breathing in babies, and have also created a 7-point action plan. Additionally, they are training staff to improve consistency.
Despite these changes, the couple believe that these new protocols should be implemented in all UK emergency call centres, and that if this does not happen, they will not have achieved what they wanted to prevent this occurring again. Mrs Moore stated: “Nothing can bring our baby back but it would give us a small piece of comfort to know his death was not completely in vain.”
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