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05th Jan 2023

Mum dies of heart attack after 11-hour ambulance wait despite promise of ‘blue light response’

Charlie Herbert

She lived just three miles from the hospital she was eventually taken to

A mum-of-four died after waiting 11 hours for an ambulance despite being promised a “blue light response” as she struggled to breathe.

Hannah Houghton, a 36-year-old with cystic fibrosis, was struggling for breath when fiancé James Jackman called 999 at 7.20pm on December 18.

But first responders only made it to the couple’s home in Kings Norton, Birmingham, at 6.15am the next morning.

Hannah was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham – just three miles from her home – where she was treated for dangerously low blood pressure.

She was then transferred to intensive care but suffered a fatal cardiac arrest and passed away in the early hours of December 22.

Her grief-stricken fiancé says his partner may have been saved if she had been taken to hospital earlier.

The builder said: “Who knows really but I think that if treatment had started 11 previously then we could be facing a different situation.

“Instead we have four children without a mother. It could have made a difference.

“I was told I would get a blue light response but there could be a delay.

“I sat up with her until 6.15 in the morning when they turned up. I couldn’t believe the delay.

“I was trying to make her as comfortable as possible throughout the night and kept keeping an eye on her. She fought, she was a fighter.

“I sat with her for ten minutes and told her I loved her and then she went.”

James is now demanding action from government and health bosses.

He said: “When the paramedics did turn up, you could tell they were all exhausted.

“They did a great job and got Hannah to hospital on a blue light as quickly as possible.

“I am not putting fault on them. This problem lies further up in the government.

“I know you can’t predict what would have happened if she was seen to earlier, but it could have made all the difference.”

NHS chiefs say the current crisis in the health service is unprecedented.

Tracy Bullock, Chief Executive of University Hospitals of North Midlands, said: “I’ve been in the NHS for 38 years and of those I’ve worked 32 Christmas and this has been
the most difficult Christmas that I’ve ever witnessed.”

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