March family called an ambulance when baby Autumn stopped breathing but were told to take her to hospital themselves
A Fenland family have been left shocked and angry after the ambulance service failed to turn up when their baby had a seizure and stopped breathing.
Instead Kayleigh Evans and her partner Alexander Tandy were forced to drive one-year-old daughter Autumn Tandy to Peterborough City Hospital, panicking all the way that she might stop breathing again.
The ambulance service have apologised for the distress caused, which happened on Wednesday (27)tea-time just hours after Autumn had her one-year-old immunisation.
Warned she could develop a temperature Kayleigh kept a close eye on her little girl, and noticed she was a bit ‘warm’.
Autumn had a dose of Calpol and the temperature dropped but, when Alex arrived at their March home from work, it had returned and the baby started being sick – so Kayleigh decided to call 111 for some advice.
Kayleigh was told to call 999 and as she was calling on the phone upstairs, Alex was downstairs holding his little girl.
The next thing Autumn twitched twice and then started having a seizure.
Alerted to what was happening Kayleigh rushed downstairs still talking to the 999 service only to discover Autumn had started to turn blue and then stopped breathing.
Kayleigh said: “I had started to give them our details, I gave them our address and then Autumn wasn’t breathing.
“I took Autumn from Alex and laid her on the sofa, I really thought she had gone – but then she breathed in after what seemed like a lifetime.
“I told the 999 operator she was breathing again and was then told it was no longer an emergency and said they would get a doctor to call me back.
“I told them she really needed to be seen, and the operator said an ambulance could take up to eight hours, and told us to take her to hospital ourselves.
“We were really scared about putting her in a car seat and driving all the way to Peterborough in case she stopped breathing again – so Alex drove and I sat in the back holding her hand. She was quite lifeless and we kept the interior light on so I could see her. It was a nightmare journey.
“We were sobbing the whole way and to make matters even worse there were two road closures with diversions. We thought we were never going to get there, and all the time we were panicking that she might have another seizure and stop breathing.
“We eventually got to the hospital and Autumn was given tests and checks and the doctor said she had suffered a seizure due to her high temperature. She was treated for the temperature and was later allowed home.
“But I still cannot believe Autumn couldn’t have an ambulance. The staff at the hospital were great and apologised for what had happened.
“Autumn is slowly getting back to her old self, but things could have turned out so differently – we could have lost our daughter that night. I am absolutely fuming and quite honestly also in shock that the NHS could fail our little girl so badly.
“Obviously we would still have been worried if an ambulance had turned up, but it would not have been so overwhelming because she would have been in expert hands.”
An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said: "We would like to apologise for any distress experienced by Autumn and her family.
"So that we can find out more about the incident, we would ask them to contact our Patient Advice Liaison Service, through our freephone number 0800 028 3382."
More by this authorSarah Cliss