A 47-year-old man died while waiting more than 40 minutes for an ambulance in Adelaide.
- A man called triple zero when he was suffering from chest pains, but the ambulance arrived half an hour later
- He died of cardiac arrest
- South Africa’s prime minister called death ‘tragic’
The man, who was suffering from chest pains, called triple zero at 5.19pm on Monday after stopping on the Anzac Highway in Plympton.
The State Ambulance Employees Association said 35 minutes later, bystanders noticed the man unresponsive and began performing CPR on him.
The union said the case was reprioritized and the first paramedic arrived at 6:01 p.m., 42 minutes after the initial triple zero call.
The patient could not be resuscitated.
The SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) has been contacted for comment and is expected to issue a statement on the case.
The union said at the time of the case the SAAS had declared an “Opstat White” – with 20 urgent cases left uncovered in the metropolitan area.
He said paramedics were deployed for three hours at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and for six hours at Flinders Medical Centre.
Witness Chady Hamra was working across the road when he saw the man go into cardiac arrest.
“We couldn’t really see what was going on…we could see people standing around someone,” Mr Hamra said.
“I think something needs to be done about this, someone’s life has just been taken.
“It’s quite tragic to wait so long, and it’s not far [ambulance units] from here.
“We’re not in the countryside, we’re in town…you expect five or ten minutes if that.
“It was terrible, my wife was in tears when we heard.”
Prime Minister says death is ‘beyond tragic’
South African Prime Minister Peter Malinauskas said the circumstances of the case were “more than tragic” and that an investigation would be carried out.
“A man, a relatively young man, tragically lost his life in circumstances that could have been avoided,” Mr Malinauskas said.
“I think every South Australian knows that my government has made it clear that tackling ambulance surge, which has consequences in terms of ambulance response times, is one of our priorities, which is why literally as we speak we are dramatically increasing resources within the ambulance service so that they don’t spend their time ramping and they spend their time responding to calls as quickly as possible.
“Over the last four years we’ve seen ambulance response times plummet. A lot of that was a function of ramp-up, so we have a policy to reduce ramp-up. Powerful.”