Stevenage mum’s fury over response to 999 call for son, 2

Natalie Frost with her two year old son Charlie who suffered a seizure at Knebworth Park but had to

Natalie Frost with her two year old son Charlie who suffered a seizure at Knebworth Park but had to wait 50 minutes for an ambulance to arrive - Credit: Archant

A MOTHER has hit out after it took nearly an hour for an ambulance to come to the aid of her two-year-old son, who was unresponsive following a seizure.

Natalie Frost was at Knebworth Park on Sunday with her son, Charlie, her husband Michael, and her parents when the horror unfolded.

She said: “We were in the fort and Charlie had a bit of a stumble. At first we thought he was choking.”

An off-duty nurse and a member of the public came to help and the nurse established Charlie was in fact having a seizure.

Mrs Frost, of Fairfield Crescent in Stevenage, said: “He was frothing at the mouth, was completely rigid, had blood coming out of his mouth where he had cut himself, and his eyes had rolled back in his head.

“At one point, I thought we were going to lose him.

“The nurse held him and he came out of it within 30 seconds.”

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Charlie, who had never suffered a seizure before, was taken to a first aid tent while a member of the public dialled 999.

Mrs Frost said: “We were calling Charlie’s name and touching him and he was not responding.

“About 20 minutes later the first response paramedic turned up and did some observations and gave Charlie oxygen.

“We were told there were no ambulances available because some paramedics were on lunch and some were up to their hours.

“The paramedic with us was repeatedly calling for an update. He kept saying Charlie was unresponsive.

“I heard the woman say one crew has 10 minutes left on their lunch and then we can send them.

“The ambulance took 50 minutes. I think it is an absolute disgrace.”

Charlie was taken to Lister Hospital in Stevenage where he was diagnosed as having had a reflex anoxic seizure - a fit triggered by a temporary cutting off of blood supply to the brain.

He has since made a full recovery and Mrs Frost said she was told there is no medical reason why Charlie should ever suffer a seizure again.

“I want to say thank you to everyone who helped,” she said. “I don’t know what we would have done without them.”

Gary Sanderson, spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service, said: “We were alerted at 1.31pm and a response car arrived within 11 minutes. The attending ambulance arrived in 51 minutes.

“The 999 call was coded Green 2, which is classed as serious but not life-threatening and requires a 30-minute response. The response car arrived in 11 minutes, so well within the required timeframe.”

He continued: “We always endeavour to reach our patients within the required timeframe, but on occasions this cannot be achieved due to a high demand in potentially life-threatening calls such as heart attacks, strokes and unconsciousness. Patients are prioritised for most urgent clinical need.”

* Last month, an independent governance review into the ambulance service was published and showed the ambulance service had failed to meet any of its response targets for 2012/13.

The four remaining non-executive directors on the board resigned on Friday.