47-year-old Donna Gilby was forced to wait almost 6 hours on a cold pavement for an ambulance after she slipped and fractured her foot.
Sadly, she died of a heart attack in the hospital.
Donna left her apartment for a doctor’s appointment when she slipped and couldn’t move. Her family, neighbors and friends rallied around and covered her with duvets and blankets to keep her warm as they waited for emergency services.
Her father, 74-year-old Gareth Gilby, said: “We then called the ambulance service and told them Donna was slipping in and out of consciousness – that must have been somewhere between 8 and 8.30 am.
“The call handler told us they were dealing with ‘a heavy influx of calls’ and that they’d be with her ‘as soon as possible’.
“When there was still no sign an hour later we called again – this time we were told they were ‘doing their best’ but that they ‘didn’t know when they would get to her.”
The ambulance arrived before two o’clock and brought Donna to Prince Charles hospital in Merthyr Tydfil. Sadly, she suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away.
“We still can’t really believe it,” Gareth expressed. “She was as good as gold and always put others before herself – she’d do anything for anyone.
“As a result she put her own problems second, like the fact that she’d struggled with her weight and ill-health for years.”
Donna’s nephew, 28-year-old James Perkins, said he had just been celebrating his son coming out of intensive care unit when he received the heartbreaking news.
“My boy had been touch-and-go with bronchiolitis, so I’d been showing my mates in work photos of him looking well again when I took the call about my auntie,” he shared.
“I just can’t believe it – it’s cruel. Her poor little girl. Every Christmas from now on is going to be a reminder of her losing her mum.
“Thankfully this is a strong family unit and she’ll be well looked after, but I’m so sad for her.”
The Welsh Ambulance Service said in a statement: “We were deeply saddened to hear about the death of Ms Gilby and would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to her family.
“We are sorry that our response took longer than we would have liked on this occasion.
“Our ambulance service exists to care for people, and our staff share the same upset and frustrations as patients and their loved ones at times like this.
“Lengthy waits for an ambulance are a sign of pressures across the whole unscheduled care system, not just in Wales but across the UK.
“An increase in high-priority ‘Red’ calls and significant hospital handover delays in particular are impacting on our ability to respond to 999 calls as quickly as we would like.
“We are investigating Ms Gilby’s case and would invite her family to contact us directly to share their experience of what happened in order to inform that investigation.”
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