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Jacqueline Hulbert fell over in her bedroom in the early hours of July 10 and could not be moved without the help of paramedics. Doctors later discovered she had a UTI infection which developed into a case of sepsis before she died.
The 78-year-old’s son, Matthew Hulbert, from Hinckley, Leicestershire, said the “indignity, distress and frustration” endured by his mother while waiting on the floor was “traumatic”.
He has been left questioning whether his mother, who was known as Jackie, would still be alive today if the ambulance had reached her sooner, reports Leicestershire Live.
The 42-year-old said: “The system is clearly broken. Perhaps if an ambulance had got to mum in that first hour she might still be here – but we’ll never know the answer”.
He said he woke up to the phone ringing at 4.30am and called a friend to drive him to his mother’s house in Barwell.
Jackie had fallen on the way to the bathroom at around 2am and used the council-provided lifeline alarm around her neck to call for help.
Matthew said: “I’m the first the council would have contacted and they were trying to call me for a while but I was asleep.
“When I did wake up, I had to call a friend to take me on the 15-minute journey to Barwell, as I don’t drive.
“When I got there, we decided we couldn’t move her in case of any potential injury and waited for the ambulance to arrive.
“The indignity of mum on the bedroom floor for 11 hours – unable to go to the toilet but desperate to go – and there was nothing I could do beyond calling 999 again and again and again.
“She kept asking where they were but there was nothing else I could do in that moment beyond calling 999 and trying to reassure her.
“I shall for the rest of my days remember those 11 hours because they were horrendous”.
He said he was woken by the phone “ringing off the hook” on the night his mother fell, which meant she had activated her lifeline alarm.
He rushed to her house and dialled 999 but said he was told there was a ten-hour wait for an ambulance, but was assured “it shouldn’t take that long” in their situation.
Jackie said she had pain in her ribcage, which Mathew said meant he could not move her or call for a taxi to the hospital.
His mother remained conscious throughout the entire wait. A paramedic arrived at the property at 4pm, followed by an ambulance roughly 30 minutes later.
He said: “When the first paramedics arrived they couldn’t have been kinder or more compassionate towards mum.
“I understand that it’s not them as individuals and they’re getting to people quickly as they can.”
Jackie was taken to George Elliot Hospital in Nuneaton, where she died on Tuesday, July 12.
She is survived by Mathew and his siblings, Debra Dixon and Mark Hulbert and her grandchildren.
Mathew said: “She was an amazing mum and cared deeply for her children and friends. She absolutely adored her grandchildren. She was a very good person.
“One thing everyone has said to me in the last few days is how amazing her smile was. It was absolutely dazzling. Even when the ambulance came and she was in a more dignified state – I popped my head in and that smile was still there.
“That’s how I’ll remember her. For those of us who loved her, her death has been absolutely devastating”.
East Midlands Ambulance Service has sent its condolences to the family.
Charlotte Walker, head of operations for Leicestershire, said: “We are deeply sorry that we were unable to get to the patient sooner and we recognise the distress that this will have caused to her and her family.
“Patient care and safety is always our priority.
“Unfortunately, we continue to experience a sustained level of life-threatening and serious emergency calls and we continually work to prioritise the sickest and most severely injured patients first.
“We would like to speak to the patient’s family and urge them to get in touch with us at their earliest convenience.”
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