Women with type 1 diabetes died after five-hour ambulance delay

Jack Woodfield
Tue, 16 Feb 2016
Women with type 1 diabetes died after five-hour ambulance delay
A student nurse with type 1 diabetes who died after waiting five hours for an ambulance could have survived if she had reached hospital faster, an inquest has heard.

Lisa Day, 27, had type 1 diabetes and became extremely ill last September. Her friend Luke Halliburton called the NHS 111 service when Ms. Day began vomiting blood at his house. An ambulance was requested shortly after 5pm.

The ambulance had still not arrived by 10pm, and Miss Day's condition had deteriorated. She had suffered a heart attack and was eventually found by paramedics unconscious on a bed.

Ms. Day (pictured above) died in the Royal Free Hospital five days later from lack of oxygen to the brain. She had experienced diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a dangerous short-term complication which occurs when the body has insufficient insulin to allow glucose to enter cells. As a result, Miss Day's blood glucose levels rose dangerously high.

DKA is a serious medical emergency, and requires urgent treatment. Aicha Daidai, an NHS 111 call handler told St Pancras Coroner's Court that the computer systems were down at the time of Mr. Halliburton's call, so made an assessment on paper.

Ms. Day was assessed as DX012, meaning that an ambulance should have arrived within 30 minutes. But the London Ambulance Service was struggling to cope with "extreme demand" at the time.

Coroner Mary Hassell said: "The reason for the approximate four-and-a-half hour delay in an ambulance attending was because demand outstripped capacity.

"If Lisa had received definitive hospital care before she suffered a cardiac arrest in the evening of September 7, the likelihood is she would have survived."

Speaking after the inquest, Ms. Day's mother Doreen Proud said: "She should still be here. What can I say? It's every mother's nightmare."

The inquest continues.

Photo: Coulter Partnership /PA
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